Friday, December 13, 2013

Christmas is Coming Soon!

Christmas is approaching fast and after decorating the house last week, Smokey and Sunny both immediately started messing with the tree/ornaments. They've knocked one particular ornament (a fish of course!) down multiple times, but it's plastic so it won't break, thank goodness. If they don't watch out they might not get anything for Christmas since they're being naughty (though I think they might get some new toys anyway because overall they're good little kitties!)! But we haven't (yet) had any climbing the tree going on (Sunny used to do this when she was younger) so that's good.

Yesterday, while on a trip to Petsmart I got some new treats for the kitties to try. They are "Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken and Trout". I thought the "Trout" addition was interesting because there are only a few brands that include it in food/treats (it is in some of the Hill's Ideal Balance stuff). Smokey and Sunny both LOVE them (going to have to watch Sunny's treat intake though because I need her to lose weight since she weighs 12lbs and should weigh about 10lbs)! They've had the "Chicken and Turkey" ones (same brand) before and love those too. I'm not usually one to recommend a particular brand of cat food/treats and no others (because there are many good brands out there) but if you are looking for some healthy treat ideas, give these a try. They're moist, fairly low calorie, and the ingredients are simple (less chance for allergies) as well as being grain-free (my cats have been eating exclusively grain-free for quite a while now).

Lilly is doing well as is Seze (my leopard gecko). A while back I got Lilly some treats. They're Oxbow Timothy Treats and she loves them! The aquariums are both doing well also. The reef tank has some awesome corals and (now) a royal gramma (purple and yellow fish). The corals are growing rapidly and seem to be "happy."

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Fall pictures!

So, I decided that today was as good a day as any to have a "photo shoot" with Smokey, Sunny and Lilly. Here are a few of them...
First, here is Smokey. She was very relaxed and comfy on the couch.
Next, Sunny. She refused to look at me for almost all her pictures (she is so funny that way!)
And finally, Lilly. I had some good ones of her but my favorite is this one of her face!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Meow Monday

So, Smokey and Sunny have been on an exclusively grain-free diet for a few months now (Blue Buffalo Wilderness dry and Sheba wet) and I must say, I'm very impressed. Sunny's "issues" of being sick (for whatever unknown reason) are gone and she is now very frisky (she was not before). Both Smokey and Sunny have very nice looking coats and they don't shed excessively. Sunny still needs to lose some weight but that is just because she and Smokey need differing amounts of food (Smokey is incredibly active and needs quite a lot more calories/food than Sunny). I attribute this seemingly better health to eating a diet that is meat-based instead of corn, wheat, soy, or rice based like some foods on the market. While some cats seem to be fine on the cheaper foods (Friskies, "Purina Be Happy", Deli-Cat, etc) I do believe that the reason certain medical problems (feline diabetes, feline obesity, hyperthyroidism due to too much salt in the food like many cheaper foods add, kidney problems, some types of cancer, etc) in cats have become more common is because of the food. Obviously not all cases of these diseases are because of the food but quite a few could very easily be traced back to improper nutrition (cats are meant to eat meat, they evolved to do it and we should, therefore, feed them appropriately).
I feed two different brands of food (the Blue Buffalo and the Sheba canned) simply because, if there is a recall of either one, I will have less trouble getting the cats to eat something that they are already used to (a big deal for Sunny who is quite picky and will go hungry instead of eat the new food).
If anyone has tips to get Sunny to lose weight (I know exercise is the key but am not sure how to get her to do it!), If anyone has an idea, leave a comment below!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Suggestions about Potential Problems with Pet Foods

In light of the various pet food recalls and what the FDA has come out with about the jerky treats, I just wanted to take a minute to tell everyone something you probably already know but is worth repeating: How to know if there is a problem with your pet's food and what to do about it.

Besides obvious visible problems such as mold/foreign matter in the food, here are some of the signs/symptoms that may be associated with problems related to your pet's food.
1. Vomiting/diarrhea (make sure your pet(s) didn't get into something toxic before you assume it's the food)
2. Using the bathroom more often than usual or avoiding using the bathroom (urinating more frequently/less frequently can be a sign of kidney issues that could be because of the food or some other reason)
3. Lethargy
4. Pain
5. Refusal to eat
6. Increased thirst/decreased thirst
Please note: your pet(s) may not experience all of these symptoms and this is not a complete list of all possible symptoms (just the most common ones). Depending on the problem with the food, symptoms may be different.

Here are a few tips of things to do if you suspect something is wrong with your pet's food.
1. Stop feeding the suspect food IMMEDIATELY. I know that you are supposed to change a pet's food slowly (over a week or more) but in the case of potential problems, it is more important to get the pet(s) off the suspect food.
2. Go to your veterinarian if your pet(s) is very sick or does not improve after removing the suspect food.
3. Submit a report through the FDA website/on the phone and give as much information as possible (lot numbers, dates, size of package, brand, flavor, best-by date, UPC, etc)
4. Alert the pet food manufacturer to your problem(s) if possible (give the same information that you gave the FDA).
5. Keep the food sealed up in an inaccessible area for a few weeks to see if the FDA wants/needs to test it for problems.

Hope these tips are helpful in the event that you have a problem in the future (I hope you don't). Feel free to share this with friends, family, etc.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Sunny's food issues finally over (hopefully!)

Well, it appears that the cat grass that I gave the kitties worked because while they had it, Sunny did not get sick (it has withered but I plan to get more and keep it on hand) at all. So, thankfully, it SEEMS Sunny is NOT allergic to fish after all (thank goodness!). My philosophy in regards to pet food is to feed the way that nature intended whatever animal to eat. We wouldn't think of feeding a guinea pig or rabbit meat so why do we feed our cats foods that are BASED in plant products (dry food HAS to have a carbohydrate/plant source in it but it shouldn't be the first ingredient and ideally shouldn't be a grain)? Cats naturally need meat so we should feed them meat. Same for other animals. My guinea pig Lilly gets pelleted food that has grass-based products in it (and no corn because it's not good for guinea pigs either interestingly enough) as well as timothy hay and veggies/fruits. Feeding animals in this way prevents health problems that they can get if they don't eat a species appropriate diet. And I'm all for feeding in a way to minimize potential health problems and, therefore, trips to the vet.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

World Cat Day

So I thought I should blog today since it is World Cat Day! Smokey and Sunny have been pretty lazy today but that's OK with me! Sunny has not been sick for a while now so maybe she is not allergic and just was eating a bad houseplant. Anyway, Happy World Cat Day!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Something to think about

This is something that those of you who have corn in your pet's food might want to think about and be careful. This little part is the worst of it all. I am not a fan of genetically modified crops (because of what they can do to native species). "Besides the risk of aflatoxins with grain ingredients, there is another concern. In researching Goss’s wilt, the main chemical in Monsanto’s weed control product Roundup – glyphosate – kept being listed in Google searches for more information. Many experts around the world are linking glyphosate to plant diseases – including Goss’s wilt and serious health risks including birth defects, genetic damage, cancer, neurological and behavior changes, brain tumors and more." I'm glad I don't have corn (or any grain) in my cats' food! Sunny has presented me with a twist recently. I have not changed her food yet and I'm watching her closely because she has NOT been sick in over a week (great!). I got the cats some cat grass and I'm wondering if she is simply not eating the plant that was making her sick now that she has her own plant. If she is NOT allergic to fish, that makes me really happy because avoiding fish in cat food is very hard. So, once I finally figure out what's going on, I'll let all know. For now, I'm going to stick with the current food and see what happens before I change foods.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sunny's possible fish allergy/intolerance

I'm still trying to find a food that Sunny can tolerate that is also high quality. She had no issues with the Hills Ideal Balance, but they've changed their formula so I don't know if it would still work or not. However, I wasn't happy feeding them that food because the protein level was lower than I liked and the fat was too high. Sunny SEEMS to be allergic/intolerant to fish (and it is pretty bad because even fish OIL causes issues if the fish is indeed the problem). So, now my next move is to eliminate fish products in the food and see if it helps. If it does, great! If not, I'm going to have to try something else. Another possibility is sweet potato in the food but I figure that is MUCH less likely because she had issues on the Chicken Soup brand and that food didn't have sweet potatoes (it DID have fish though) plus sweet potatoes are NOT a common allergen. So, even though the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken Recipe is great for Smokey and is a great food overall, I can't stick with it. I'm going to try the Blue Buffalo Wilderness Weight Loss Formula because it has NO fish or fish oil (and the weight loss aspect will probably be good for Sunny, who still needs to lose weight). Canned food is even harder when you can't get something with fish because almost all canned foods have fish or fish oil (for flavoring and Omega 3) in them. There are a few Wellness foods that don't have fish (the Healthy Indulgence line pouches for SURE) and a few Blue Buffalo ones too. I'm sure there are others out there (if you know of any that are NOT Purina brand, leave a comment below please!) that I haven't found yet.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Food transition

The kitties have been eating Hill's Ideal Balance since their Purina One Beyond gave BOTH of them trouble (worst with the newest bag I got but had been going on for a while before I figured out that it was the food) and made them sick. Before the Hill's food, I tried Newman's Own Organics and while this is a great food, they would not eat it. While the Hill's food agreed with them (didn't make them sick and they liked it), I was not happy with it. It only has 29% protein (30.5% dry matter) and is too high in fat (signifying they use chicken that is not good quality protein but instead is very fatty). So, I'd been looking at other foods (as noted in a previous blog post) and have decided that I will try Blue Buffalo Wilderness Chicken. I got a 3-lb bag last Saturday and have been mixing the two foods for a few days now. The cats seem to like it pretty well (Smokey is already picking the new food out from the old!) and, so far, are tolerating it well (one cat- I suspect Sunny- has been sick once, but only once). I'm watching Sunny very closely though because I still do wonder if she is intolerant of fish in the food (foods with fish seem to bother her more than foods without fish). If that becomes a problem, there are several foods (Blue Buffalo and Wellness) that are fish free so those are always options. Will update on how the transition is going. P.S. Purina One Beyond has NOT been recalled (yet) but the FDA is looking into reports (and picture proof) of mold in the food. I did not find mold in the food (not visibly) but it is possible that there is mold in the food that is just not visible. There are certainly several people (and at least one who posted on the facebook page) who had picture proof of mold in that food. In any case, it made both my cats sick and that's enough for me to not feed it!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013


I don't feed this food but I thought I'd let people know in case anyone you know does.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Suggestions for cat foods

OK guys. The cats are currently eating Hills Ideal Balance but I'm not happy with several things about it. First off, the meat content is way too low in my opinion and secondly, the protein content is too low too (only 29%). So, I'm going to switch to another food as soon as I can. These are some I've considered and I want advice about whether anyone has had problems with these foods. The thing is, it can be hard to tell whether there are truly problems are whether people have other issues not related to the food. So, here's my list. Let me know what you've heard about any of them by leaving a comment below. Thanks! Halo Spot's Stew Grain Free Formula Hearty Chicken Recipe Cat Food, Orijen Cat and Kitten, Nature’s Variety Instinct Dry Kibble, Blue Buffalo Wilderness, Blue Buffalo Basics, Blue Buffalo Freedom, FreshPet Vital (the "kibble" type)

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sick kitties...

Update! I would NOT feed Purina One Beyond right now because it has made both Sunny AND Smokey sick. I got a new bag and the cats have both been sick since. Looked it up and while there is no official recall (yet), there are lots of reports of this food (all Purina actually) causing problems in cats and dogs lately (vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, increased thirst, etc) and there is early speculation that there MAY be a toxin (not salmonella or e. coli but an actual toxin) in it. I'm not taking any chances (the evidence is too strong in my case with the new food bag and getting sick) and have switched them to Newman's Own Organics. So, keep a watch out if you feed a Purina food and please consider switching to something else (especially if you feed this particular Purina brand).

Monday, April 15, 2013

Purina ONE Beyond food review

Update! I would NOT feed the food right now because it has made both Sunny AND Smokey sick. I got a new bag and the cats have both been sick since. Looked it up and while there is no official recall (yet), there are lots of reports of this food causing problems in cats and dogs lately (vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, increased thirst, etc) and there is early speculation that there MAY be a toxin in it. OK, so as most of you know, I've been feeding my cats Purina One Beyond for a while now. I did not intend to start feeding this food but the food they had been on (Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul) was recalled because of salmonella so I tried this and when I tried to switch them back, they did not tolerate it well so I had to stick with this Purina stuff. That's not all bad though. For example, I can get the Purina much easier (the other was very hard to find) and don't have to make a special trip to get it. I also figure that if it is ever recalled, with Purina being such a large company, I'll hear about it sooner. But here is an overview of what I think of Purina One Beyond Chicken and Whole Oat Meal Recipe. First off, here is the ingredient list... Chicken, chicken meal, whole brown rice, soybean meal, whole barley, whole oat meal, soy protein isolate, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), dried yeast, dried egg product, natural flavor, dried beet pulp, fish oil, phosphoric acid, caramel color, dried carrots, salt, calcium carbonate, dried sweet potatoes, dried apples. OK, so chicken and chicken meal are a great first two ingredients for any food and are a great way to start. Whole brown rice is a quality grain so I can't complain about it either. Soybean meal I would rather not see (soy has little nutritional value for cats). Whole oat meal is another quality grain addition. Soy protein isolate I don't like seeing for the same reason as the previous appearance of soy but also because protein isolate tends to imply that they are trying to boost the overall protein content (I would rather see them boost the protein content with another animal protein). Animal fat always is questionable because the origin is not listed but at least it is naturally preserved. Dried yeast is not going to hurt anything. Dried egg product is a good ingredient because eggs are high in protein and are an excellent addition. Natural flavor is OK but I would like them to say what "natural flavors" they are using. Dried beet pulp is in most cat foods and is a fine ingredient. Fish oil is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids so seeing it is always good. The next two ingredients are not important. Dried carrots, dried sweet potatoes and dried apples are all very good ingredients that show a high quality food. The other ingredients in-between are not of significance. Overall, the food is a well made, healthy food. This is really a very big step for Purina! I would like to see a few more animal protein sources (some type of fish or turkey maybe) but I'm comfortable feeding this to my cats. They seem to like this food and do not seem to be gaining any weight on it (Sunny already was overweight when I started them on it). If you are looking for a good quality food that you can find easily, you might look into getting this food.

Spring is in the air!

Well, it's been a WHILE since I updated my blog but here is an overview of what's been going on. Smokey and Sunny are doing well. I still need to get Sunny to lose weight but with two cats (one of which is NOT overweight and is extremely active), it can be hard to get one to lose weight while keeping the other one happy. Still working on it though. Lilly is also doing well. She seems to enjoy her out of cage time and doesn't seem to be getting overweight (gotta watch for that in guinea pigs!). Seze (my leopard gecko) is doing fine. The aquariums have been doing well for the most part. The disease (in November) did not kill all the fish (2 black skirt tetras, both platies and 2 danios lived) though the danios have died since then (not sure what killed them but since I had them a while, I'm guessing old age). I've added a few fish since I last updated including 2 khuli loaches (cool little fish) and a new school of glowlights (quarantined this time!). The reef doesn't currently have any fish in it but the corals look good. Still battling an aggressive algae but I think I'm finally getting it under control.