Thursday, November 26, 2015

My experience with the Catit Design Senses Grass Garden Kit

As someone who feeds her cats home made raw food, I'm aware that there are times when they need a little 'something green'. Yes, cats are obligate carnivores and are designed to get their entire nutritional content from the animals they catch and kill, but my cats don't eat other animals, so I believe they are lacking in a few things when I don't add a little bit of greens to their diet.

I know that cats make their own Vitamin C, but I have read the work of vets who believe that they often have a hard time making enough when their bodies are under stress.

I know there are components in grasses and leafy greens that have yet to be understood and quantified. There is a reason cats are naturally attracted to eating grass, and over the years I have tried to provide that for them... and I have been wildly unsuccessful at it. Cat grass seems to come in small little light weight plastic containers; those things are great for ease of shipping and not too bad for growing, but once the cat gets near it they tip over and the entire contents spills out.

I even tried planting it in a regular plant pot, and my cat knocked that over too. It was an absolute mess.

When I saw the Catit Grass Garden Kit, I actually went right out and bought one. I spent under $20, and thanks to Amazon it was shipped to me rather quickly.

I love that this thing can not be knocked over. I love that the screen on the top keeps paws off the vermiculite and keeps it all contained within the product. I love the no slip pad so the cats can't just lay there and bat at the thing and push it around the house as they are wont to do when they are bored.

Eli LOVES this thing.. I know because over the first few weeks of having it he would be regularly vomiting up grass. No, that is not fun, but the vomiting has become less. No one knows why cats do this.. One theory (which I like) is because cats lack the digestive enzymes to break it down, but I'm not fully convinced this is the complete answer, because several of my cats have also been chewing on this and haven't been vomiting.  Eli also tend to vomit just a few minutes after eating. I don't think that is really enough time for the stomach to give up on food and send it packing in the wrong direction. Then there is the fact that other undigested substances (mainly his fur) isn't hurled back up but is passed through to the end (more on that in another post)

I'm glad I bought it, I will be replanting another round of grass probably in the next few days because my poor house only has one set of windows that are good for sun and they aren't anywhere in the house I spend any time so I forgot to water it for a few days and it died.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving Eve

We here in the USA are about to embark on one great big huge eating fest, and for many people that will continue on for the next five days. Chances are if you celebrate Thanksgiving, or any other holiday centered around eating, you will run into a moment when you have a pet at your feet begging you for a little something something.

If you have been paying attention you will have probably run across articles and infographics on the web trying to scare you into being obnoxiously cautious when treating your pets, if not downright abstaining from giving your pet anything but commercial pet food.

I would like to tell you that some of these fears are absolutely true, and they should be heeded every single day of the year. You should always make sure that cooked bones are not accessible to your pet. You should never feed grapes or raisins to dogs. Raw yeast dough should not be fed to dogs, nor cats for that matter if for no other reason than cats are obligate carnivores and yeast doughs are not meat.

But in the past few days I've seen some pretty frightening articles telling you that your cat or dog is going to get pancreatitis if you feed them so much as a buttered piece of broccoli. Fat is not going to give a healthy cat pancreatitis.

Causes of pancreatitis include:
*Concurrent inflammatory bowel disease or liver disease. The combination of inflammatory disease of the liver, pancreas, and intestines is so common in cats that it has its own name — "triaditis." It is safe to assume that most cats diagnosed with one of these conditions have some degree of the other two as well.
*Diabetes mellitus
*Certain types of infections (e.g., toxoplasmosis or feline distemper)
*Abdominal trauma
*Exposure to organophosphate insecticides
Could your pet come down with a case of pancreatitis if you feed it, or it consumes without your consent, a wildly inappropriate meal with gobs of fat, sure, as anything is possible. Lots of cats and dogs end up in the emergency clinics because they had dietary indiscretions, and some extreme irritation and inflammation could bring about an acute case, but unless your pet already has chronic issues, one piece of buttered veg is not* going to land your pet in the emergency room.

We know that cooked bones are very dangerous for both cats and dogs, but uncooked bones aren't. Cats and dogs are both carnivores and are designed to eat raw meat and bone. Uncooked bones are soft and do not splinter when they are chewed. A lot of people feed wing tips and necks to cats for them to chew on for oral health. It is good for increasing jaw strength which improves dental health, and the ripping of flesh from bone and chewing bone does keep teeth clean from tartar. I feed them to my cats quite often. Many people feed them daily. Could a raw piece of bone get lodged on a tooth or could the cat swallow a too large piece of bone, yes.. and the kibble being fed could be contaminated as well.

Eggs are an excellent source of protein as well as vitamins and minerals and yes fat. A lot of people try to scare you into not feeding your cats eggs, be it they are contaminated with salmonella or ecoli or what not, or the fact that raw egg whites contain a substance that inhibits the absorption of biotin, a very important vitamin. The studies that they base this fear on were done by feeding rats just the egg white. They discount that they yolk is so rich in biotin that the chances of a biotin deficiency is incredibly low when you feed the whole egg.

One thing that you should keep in mind is that the more limited your pet's diet has been over the past year means you have a much narrower window of goodies you can share with your pet. Cats and dogs are both prone to digestive upset if you do not feed a varied diet on a regular basis and then abruptly change what they are eating. If you always feed the same brand and flavor of food, then giving your pet a plate of cooked turkey or a raw turkey wing tip will cause problems.. just as it would if you abruptly changed them to a different type of pet food.

Your best bet is to make sure your pet eats their regular meal and thus are not starving when your own meal time comes around. Slipping them a few pieces of turkey will not kill them*, and feeding them pieces of turkey that have been sitting around for a while will not give them salmonella* (remember that cats are not only predators but they are not opposed to eating any carrion they find in the wild to keep themselves alive. Their bodies are designed to handle this with a shorter digestive tract and much more acidic stomach acid than herbivores or omnivores)

Keep their treats to under 10% of their general food intake, aim for animal based treats over plant based ones, don't feed them anything you wouldn't feed to them at any other time of the year, and by all means keep your kitties away from the onions and garlic. (and tinsel and snow globes)

*I am not a vet, nor do I play one on the internet. I made several definitive statements on here, and I know I can not say that there will never be a case where giving a piece of turkey to your animal won't kill them. Maybe your cat is allergic to turkey, maybe they eat it so fast it lodges in their throat, etc. I can't say that your cat will never catch salmonella, but I can tell you they are far more likely to do so from contaminated kibble then they are from anything in your home, and I can't say for absolute certainty that your healthy cat won't get pancreatitis from eating a piece of buttered broccoli, but I'm fairly certain the chances of that are so low that the statement is ridiculous. If your cat isn't healthy, then you know full well not to give it a high fat meal because your vet told you so.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Family photos

I thought I would try to get a photo of the whole family now that they have grown. I will say it wasn't easy.. and I'm not sure I can really say I was successful... but there are five sets of eyeballs and you can see them all, so there is that..

Their time at Casa de Gato is coming to an end. The boys are all at weight at this point. Belladora is a half pound behind, but once they hit the two pound mark they generally put on the next half pound pretty quickly. I was guessing they would be ready to go home the first week in December and it looks like I'm going to be right.  I'll call the shelter some time next week and see what we can do about getting them in and being neutered.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Playing favorites

I end up sharing a lot of photos of these kittens on my facebook page and I was recently accused of playing favorites with one kitten in particular.

I assume it was because I share a lot of photos of one kitten in particular, Winnow.. but it is only because that boy is so freakingly photogenic. he sits still for long periods of time and looks right at me, unlike most kittens who tend to gaze off into the distance and are off running before they an form a full thought in their heads. It helps that he is so freakin cute and he's often doing something worth taking a photo of..

but he is not my favorite, and I'm guessing by now you have figured out who is. Flynn is an incredibly goofy kitty who often is running around quite clueless. He makes me laugh every single day

The extra white fur on his legs reminds me of arm hair on men, and that also amuses me. His fur is also quite soft and he doesn't mind if I pick him up and snuggle him and kiss him silly unlike Ethan Errol whose dad must have been feral because he is not as friendly as his siblings and who tends to be afraid of things his siblings don't.

Don't get me wrong, they are all incredible kitties and they all make me happy and anyone would be lucky to have any one of them..

Including Lovey, who is achingly sweet and who is so ready to play and snuggle

but seriously, Winnow takes some freakingly adorable photos..

Friday, November 20, 2015

Did someone say treats?? #Chewyreview #sponsored

My cats are always thrilled when offers Orijen cat treats in their Blogger Outreach program. They think I am way way too stingy with the treat giving since I had to remove the dry food I was giving them for treats (because of Jack). I used to toss a handful of dry food on to the floor for them to gobble up, but no more.. now it is just one or two treats at a time, because getting high quality treats isn't as cheap as a two dollar bag of kibble.  But spending a bit more and knowing what is in those treats is very important. Gone are the days when I accept what I'm told on face value and I'm so busy looking into what is really in a product to spend a lot of time giving that product to the end consumer.. Muffin and Fleurp think that I should stop looking and just buy more Orijen treats since I already approve of them so much. Muffin strongly prefers the cat treats because they are smaller and she doesn't have to chew them. I prefer the dog treats for my cats because they are bigger and they have to chew them so it takes them longer to eat them.

but really in the end, all that is really important is that the cats are healthy and happy, and Orijen cat treats fit that bill.. (and the only complaint I have is they cost more than two dollars, but then again if they did, chances are I wouldn't want to buy them)

Thank you again for this opportunity. If you would like to be a member of the Chewy Blogger Program, where you get free product in exchange for an honest review, you can email Sydney at