Tuesday, October 13, 2009

food choices, vaccine choices and declawing

Warning rant coming...

Ok, so most of you know by now that I am fairly passionate about certain things regarding kitties.  I think all cats should be fed a canned or preferably raw diet, I think that vaccines should be studied carefully and questioned, that cats should not be allowed to roam freely outside, and I think declawing is inhumane.

But what you might or might not get is that while *I* believe these things, I want you to believe what you are going to believe after reading the information out there.  I know full well it can be confusing, because your vet whom you are supposed to be able to trust to tell you the best medical information for your pet may or may not be the best source.  After all, they do have a financial stake in getting you in the office and selling you the food they sell and having you partake in their services.  Do I think all vets are "corrupt" absolutely not.  Do I think they honestly think that they are doing what is your best interest....I hope most of them are.  I honestly hope that most of them are spouting information that is proven to be against what I (and many other people and vets) believe because they truly think they are giving out appropriate information and the financial incentive is just a bonus.  After all if you go to school and a major pet food company sponsors your nutrition classes, you tend think the college agrees with the information being taught, so there for they have some reputation with the students and when they go and set up shop they are courted once again by these companies to sell their food that they have been taught is good, and hey look you make money too.  I mean they MUST know what they are doing, after all they have been in business for YEARS and make TONS of money.. right?

What I don't understand is why these students who are taught that cats are obligate carnivores believe that cats should be eating food that is mostly plant material..

but I'm digressing..

I belong to several message boards out there for cats.  One being generic pet owners.. the Tom Dick and Harry-s of the world who generally believe what their vets tell them is the absolute truth, and there is no need to question it (most but not all)  Another is a board for a cat illness.  These owners have learned first hand that vets can be fallible, but also still hold a healthy respect for their abilities.  The last I'm going to mention is a holistic group who have almost no respect for vets and traditional medicine.  They admit that there is a need for vet, but that you should question EVERYTHING and they generally believe that all the dogma of veterinary medicine is just that and should be avoided if possible.  I do learn things from each group, which I love, but getting either group on the polar opposites to listen to anything that is outside of what they believe is like pulling teeth.

The generic group (oh these are horrible names, so please forgive my attempt to keep things generalized) doesn't want to hear about vaccine protocols, and that there might be some question if you even need to give them every three as is the current recommendation. They are dead set on "you need to follow my vet's recommendation or you are anti-whateveritiswearetalkingabout.  Declawing posts set off a mail storm of hate mail - even if all you want to do is get the information (hey, tell me about declawing... it sucks man, and you suck for even thinking it!!)  You should have seen the furry of posts about a cat going outside.. it was almost shameful.  While I am the poster child for indoor, clawed, raw fed kitties, my intention is always to post information so the owner can make informed decisions.  I do my best to never insult or defame anyone.  Occasionally tempers are short, and stuff is taken the wrong way - especially if the OP does not include all the information  (My cat is sick and I can't afford to take it to the vet...me: well you could try this or this, but you could be making things worse, if you honestly can not scrape the money together, and the organizations out there to help can't help, then maybe you should consider rehoming the kitty so you can be in a better financial situation...  HOW COULD YOU SUGGEST I DON"T LOVE MY CAT AND AREN'T WILLING TO DO EVERYTHING TO FIX IT, I'VE SPENT THOUSANDS TRYING TO FIND A SOLUTION TO SAID PROBLEM... me: um.. ok, but you didn't say that originally...)

the group of cat owners who are in the middle - those fighting a particular illness are generally the most grounded owners.  They are a little militant about some things, but for the most part, owners who are willing to go above and beyond and treat a pet for a long term illness are people who are willing to listen to different opinions and have the ability to open their minds to other options.  I mean after all they did turn to the *internet* for help caring for their pets.. :)  They can come off a little strong when dealing with owners of newly diagnosed cats (hey, listen to me, what your vet who studied medicine for years is wrong, and I whom you have never met knows what is best for your and your cat!!  ok for the most part that is true, as most often these pet owners have been there and done that and fallen prey to vet mistakes, but when you say it like that who is going to listen to you?)

The holistic group is really interesting.  They can have a circular logic.  I  have seen them say in one post that you can't correlate what happens in humans with what happens in cats, but then turn around and say in a different post that there are things that happen in humans so we must be careful in cats.  (same with dogs).  They are quite extreme in their beliefs that all vaccines are bad - that you should avoid them at all costs.  That dry food is completely inappropriate and has NO place in a cat's diet, and that there is NEVER an excuse for declawing (ok, most people hold that.. )  They have also said flea infestations are a result of an improper diet.

I know I have failed from time to time to present the information I believe to be true in an objective POV, but I hope I have never made anyone feel bad for their past choices.  What is done is done.  All we can hope is that we can learn from one another and move on from here.

You absolutely do not need to believe what I believe in order for me to believe you are a good pet owner.  For me to think you are a good pet owner, you just need to keep asking the questions.. and want what is best for YOUR kitty..

*my intent here is not to insult any one particular person/group.  Just to talk about the differences of opinions out there, and to rant about why some people feel that discussion is inappropriate.  I was a Tom Dick/Harry pet owner.. and two of my cats blocked from urinary crystals, and one became diabetic.  It was discussion and research that helped me learn how to keep my cats in the best health I believe to be possible - even if that is contrary to what my vet might suggest..

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