Monday, April 28, 2014

Monday Morning Muffin

Morning.. ~Muffin
I brought Abby and Chandler back to the shelter this weekend.  It kinda hurt to do it, as I know there was a lot more work that could be done with them, but I feared I'd never get them off insulin - especially since the insulin I had was less than effective. It only lasted 10 hours not the standard 12. There is only a small amount of the bottle left, so they will get a new bottle soon enough.

I felt so weird to not have to go down and test them that night. It is funny how quickly you get used to something. Even now I still feel the pull to care for them, but there is only so much I can do, and right now taking care of the two of them is not in the cards for me.

Muffin, for one, is glad.. more time for snuggles.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Sharing her toys

Twee thinks Abby and Chandler might like to play with her toys, so she brings her favorite ones down to the door, but when it doesn't open she leaves them there and wanders off.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Two Little Piggies..

So the two of them do not like the flash on my camera, I can't really blame them.. So I tried to take photos with out it, and they were both a little active - which is really amusing since they spend their entire day sleeping..

Anyway, last night they were a little hungry.. They ate all four cans that I normally give them (and it leaves nearly a full can for them to snack on during the night) so I had to give them more.  Chandler thought that the jelly left over in the can should not go to waste..

Pbbth! (singsong) You can't take my picture!!
Okay, fine, you can take it, but it won't be in good focus.. 
Hum.. fine.. you can have good focus, but my eyes are closed.. so I win!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Monday, April 21, 2014

Abby, Chandler and the insulin

Just a quick post today.. Sorry no photos

I did two curves on Abby and Chandler this weekend.  The first one on Saturday was done on Fancy Feast Turkey and Giblets classic.  Once I knew how low they were going and where the 'nadir' was (the lowest point in the curve) I decided to put them on raw food.

I gave them a little nibble and they were very happy to eat it, so on Saturday night they only got raw food with one can of FF. In the AM their blood sugars were about what they have been, so I gave them only raw for breakfast and did another curve.

This one went well, they had a nice drop, but we hit two snafus..

The first is that the insulin only 'lasts' for five hours not six.  Being a 12 hour insulin, the numbers SHOULD drop for six hours and then slowly rise for the next six, just in time for the next dose. Unfortunately it only drops for five hours, then rises for seven.. which might be why I'm having a hard time getting their upper numbers to lower.  I've written to the shelter to let them know, I don't know if they'll get another vial of insulin or not..

The second was after the fifth hour today they were both very hungry.  We were out of raw chicken, so I gave them some raw beef.  The Crew are unenamored with the raw beef and often let it go uneaten.  Unfortunately when I went back down to tend to them a few hours later there was vomit in four different locations in the room.. apparently beef did not agree with them, and the stress of vomiting, or empty tummies, or *shrug* something caused them both to have BGs nearing 500!

Since putting them on a raw diet long term really isn't an option, and their readings really didn't improve, or go lower, while eating it, I've decided to put them back on the canned.

I'm also not sure how much longer I'm going to keep them.  I took them both because the shelter was going to be closed that weekend... then I decided to keep them through Easter when the shelter is closed..   I guess if the shelter agrees to get a new vial of insulin, then I'd probably keep them here for a few more days to see what that insulin does for them.. if not, then once they start giving me the numbers that I had been getting I'll make arrangements for them to go back.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Shhhh.. I'm huntin wabbits..

You can't see me, I'm huntin wabbits.. 
What's that??

Hope you all are having a wonderful Easter, and if you don't celebrate it, may you catch your wabbits :)

Friday, April 18, 2014

Doing the sugar dance - treating diabetic cats

Sadly I still haven't been able to take a decent photo of Abby. She has such an incredibly expressive face, it really is quite a trip.  Sadly most of the time she looks like she is freaking right out, expecting me to be yelling at her or worse.. I can only imagine what she went through in her old house..

Anyway.. When you give a cat insulin, it helps to know what their blood glucose (BGs) levels are to start with.  I've run across a lot of vets who do not think this information is important... to me it is vital. I can not imagine giving insulin with out knowing what the BGs are. How would you ever know if the cat is running low for some reason and giving insulin when BGs are low is dangerous if not deadly.

We are dosing with PZI, a 12 hour insulin.  This means at about 6 hours after giving the dose the BGs would be the lowest, with the highest levels being at the time you give the insulin.  If you chart it out, you should have a nice 'rolling hill' curve over time. Most vets will have you drop off your cat to do a 'curve' to see how low the insulin drops the BGs, and they do that by testing the BGs every two hours until they start going back up

Abby's BGs:

Sat PM:    329 (1unit)  
Sun AM:   367 (1 unit)
Sun +6     290
Sun PM:    373 (2 unit)
Mon AM:  360 (2 unit)
Mon +8    344  
Mon PM:  396 (2 unit)
Tue AM:  376 (2)
Tue +6     325
Tue PM:  393 (1)
Tue +6     247
Wed AM:  397 (1.25)
Wed PM:  400  (1.25)
Thur AM:   355 (1.25)
Thur PM:  326 (1.25)

It seems counter intuitive that more insulin would produce less of a drop in the BGs but the liver does start to over compensate when insulin levels drop too much or there is an excess of insulin in the system.  This is why the 'start low and go slow' protocol works so well... and this is why the 5 units that the vet prescribed is far too much.  I was sorely tempted to go to 1.5 instead of 1.25 since 1 unit produced a nice drop in BGs, but 1.25 wasn't keeping it down (still hitting the 400 target) but notice that with time the top level of the curve is starting to come down.  Today I will be able to do another midday test, and I will try to do a curve over the weekend and see exactly what is going on..

Chandler finally started slowing down on the need for food. His BGs have a better range.. remember that a normal BG is under 100... 100 is a target we aim for when reducing BGs artificially.  You can aim for a lower number, but it can be risky, and I don't go there.

Sat mid afternoon at the shelter 59
Sat PM 157 (no insulin given)
Sun AM 221 (no insulin given) (I probably could have given some insulin)
Sun +6 240
Sun PM 261 (1 unit)
Mon AM 211 (1)
Mon PM 91 (0)
Tue AM 209 (1)
Tue +6 242
Tue PM 237 (.5)
Tue +6 157
Wed AM  177 (.5)
Wed PM 199 (.5)
Thur AM 174 (.5)
Thur PM 200 (.5)

I'm looking forward to tomorrow's data from Chandler as well.  I find it very interesting that he is 25 points lower in the AM  vs the PM in the last couple of days.  I'm tempted to go a little lower in the insulin to see what that does, but at this point I need another +6 number to see what is going on..

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Make Mine Chocolate - repost

I am reposting last year's post for "Make Mine Chocolate" because I've been a little overwhelmed with things here for the past few weeks to do a new post justice.

without further ado..


Having been a rabbit owner for almost 15 years (would have been longer - Bri died way too young) "Make Mine Chocolate" is a cause dear to my heart.

Easter is a wonderful time; full of thoughts of Spring, and chicks and rabbits and candy and fun.  It is also a time of renewal and reflection and reverence.  Easter is the celebration of the rise of Jesus after the crucifixion, but like Christmas, it has been "watered down" with pagan symbols to make it more palatable to non-Christians in hopes that it would make converting them easier... hence the eggs, the chicks, and the bunnies.

Sometimes people think this would be a great time to introduce a rabbit into the household.  They aren't completely wrong. It can be done if done right, especially if it is a life lesson for those involved and everyone wants the animal.

But all too often it is done without considering the lifetime commitment a pet rabbit needs.  Pet store rabbits are NOT wild rabbits, and should not be just let free once the novelty of owning a rabbit has worn off, doing so pretty much ensures that it dies a horrible death.

Rabbits are not 'easy' pets.  They do need room to roam and hop around.  They have a fairly specific diet that includes lots of hay, minimal pellets and a good variety of greens.  They need to chew constantly to help keep their teeth worn down so they can continue to eat, and they need to dig in order to wear down their claws.  Even when given appropriate toys to chew on, they will often go for inappropriate items such as electrical cords and baseboards.  If teeth and claws are not worn down naturally, they will need to be trimmed - which is not easy because bunnies are prey animals and as such have a fear of being held down, let alone having a paw held to trim claws.  They also need to eat constantly to stay healthy, so they need hay all of the time.  As a result of eating constantly, they poop continually.  Fortunately, their stool is very dry and 'pellet' formed so they are easy to clean up but they will be everywhere.  Rabbits can be trained to urinate in a litter box which is nice, but their urine is quite strong smelling and without constant maintenance,  your rabbit's home can quickly smell pretty badly.

I do believe rabbits are wonderful pets, but they are also very fragile.  My Brianna passed away quite suddenly from a simple respiratory issue that is easily treatable in my cats.  It was measured in hours from the time she was healthy until she was gone.  They can easily break their own back trying to get away (they have very powerful back legs) and you should not only read up on the subject but talk to a bun owner to see if owning a bunny is really for you.  What a wonderful project to take on with your kids and have them make the decision - there is even an online quiz to get you started.

Previous posts on the subject:
2012: "Make Mine Chocolate"
2011: Rabbits and Easter

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Blog the Change for Animals - Diabetic cats need your help

Blog the Change

Once a quarter I try to help highlight small things you can do to help the animals in need.  I try to keep the ideas small and very doable to help encourage people that they can do something and not think it 'too small' because every little bit helps.

But this time I thought I would go big. Have you ever considered fostering or adopting a diabetic cat?

See this time BtC fell at a time when I brought home two new fosters..

Chandler and Abby were both surrendered to the shelter because they became diabetic. Sadly vets often do not know how to properly treat diabetic cats and make their care nearly impossible for the average pet owner. To make it even more difficult, the cost of the diagnosis and initial care and regulation can be impossible for even the most loving of pet owners.

According to this blog post, 800,000 cats are diagnosed with diabetes every year. When I was active on a message board for diabetic cats, I would quite often see owners of newly diagnosed cats absolutely overwhelmed with not only the idea of owning a diabetic cat, but the cost. A vial of insulin alone can cost $100 or more. Many people faced with this try to rehome their cats. Please know, there are ways of reducing the costs. Learning how to test the glucose levels of your cat's blood can dramatically reduce not only the cost, but also your own stress levels by giving you loads of data on your cat and how the insulin is working in your kitty.

I have often stated that the learning curve for diabetic cats is very steep, but it is very short. In most cases these days a simple diet change can reverse the high glucose levels and you can avoid the need for insulin all together. Changing the cat to a high protein "low carb" diet can dramatically lower high glucose levels in a cat, and should never be attempted on a cat that is actually on insulin unless you are home testing...

Do you get the feeling that I strongly recommend home testing? I do. I believe it is a vital skill to lean, even if your cat is not diabetic, and it takes about $40 to be able to do it.  The most basic of glucometers at your local mega mart will work just fine. I tend to pick my glucometers based on the cost of the test strips, because they can range in price from $0.35 to $1.00 or more per strip... and the goal is to help make this affordable. Most vets require the cat to come in to the office and spend a day or more to be 'regulated' on an insulin dose.  This is something you can do at home once you have the ability to test. This saves money and stress on the cat. Also, when you generate the data first hand, you have so much more control.

I tend to use a lancet not in a pen, and I use a tissue or a paper towel to 'protect' my fingers from being poked.  If I am not worried about poking myself I am much more confident in poking the cat. I also tend to poke several times in one spot as I got my experience on a cat that did not like to bleed.  Chandler is a nice bleeder and I only have to poke him once.  Abby is not and takes several pokes and some 'milking' of the ear to get enough blood.

Knowing what the blood sugar levels are at gives me the knowledge of how much insulin the cat might need and when you do a 'curve' - testing every two hours - you can watch and see just how the insulin is working through out the day. Just as human diabetic glucose levels fluctuate, so do the cats, and having this information can prevent you from giving too much insulin - which is a life threatening situation.

Once you get the hang of testing, it takes no more than a minute or two.  Giving insulin also takes but a moment. I generally give it while the cat is eating and you are often done giving it before the cat even notices.

Owning and treating a diabetic cat is not something I'd wish on anyone, but once you do it, you find the bond with you cat turns in a whole new direction and deepens quite a bit. Often the people who treat diabetic cats find themselves adopting additional diabetic cats because they have the knowledge and really appreciate that deep bond they have with their 'extra sweet' kitties.

Right now there are cats all over the world who need a home simply because they became diabetic. They need someone to step up and say "Yes, I am willing"

Monday, April 14, 2014

Chandler is at the vet

So I got a call this morning asking me if I knew that Chandler had a dental appointment this morning.

Why no, I didn't know this.  Good thing I haven't fed him yet.  Yes, I can bring him..

So he's got bad teeth.. which can drive up blood sugar levels.. Will be very interesting to see what happens once he gets back..

Absolutely broke my heart to break my promise to him so quickly.  I told him I would not let him get that hungry again.. *sigh* Wonder how many cans he'll eat when he gets home.. :)

Meet Chandler and Abby

Well I went to the shelter to pick up Chandler to give him some out of a cage time since he still wasn't up for adoption, and while I was there I was introduced to Abby..

For a recap, Chandler was at the shelter with a very bad leg that the vet saw and wrapped up for a while and he had very high blood sugar levels and was deemed diabetic.  He was kept in one of the shelter's standard size cages for quite some time and he was becoming depressed.  I saw him earlier in the week and promised him that he would come home with me for a while to give him a break and to see if I could get him off insulin with a diet change.

Senior tabby kitty
Senior tabby cat's back leg with lots of flaky skin
Chandler's leg
Abby was recently turned into the shelter because her owners could not afford to treat her diabetes. Because they couldn't afford to, they didn't. Being an unregulated and untreated diabetic she would drink a lot and pee a lot, and peed around the house, so they kept her in a small cage for six months.  When she was turned into the shelter she was apparently covered in filth and she needed quite a bit of care to make her smell good. Because of her previous care she is also currently on clavamox (no idea why) and tresaderm (for bad ears). She also came to me with an excessive amount of matted fur. Being a short haired kitty, this was heartbreaking.

female tabby cat
three significant piles of matted fur
Abby's mats 
Chandler's BG reading was 59 at the shelter.  Anything under 100 is 'normal' and a reading that low is a bit concerning while on insulin.  With out insulin that number is 'normal' and not a worry, but when you are artificially bringing that number down, you risk having it go too low which is very very serious and can lead to long term problems (including death).  He was also starving. He ate while at the shelter, and then ate four cans of Fancy Feast that night. You should have seen him light up when I popped the top of the can. He was actually so hungry he tried to eat the can itself.

Chandler's leg is very thin, and he does not want to put much weight on it at all. Because it was wrapped up for so long, he has quite a bit of lose fur on it, and it comes out in clumps when I try to get the excess off. He doesn't much like it when I do, and he only lets me get a bit off at a time. His coat in general is in pretty poor shape, and I was able to take quite a bit off simply by patting him - all very heart breaking.  I do not know what they think is wrong with the leg, but I can't help but wonder if he has a little diabetic neuropathy going on.  He also felt the need to mark his territory once he got here.  He peed on Charlotte's favorite basket. I moved him to the litterbox figuring he didn't know where it was, and he stepped out of the box and peed on the wall.  He then walked over to the door and peed on that. He has since peed on the couch, on the wall and on one of the toys in the room. His first introduction with Abby didn't go well either. Chandler was still hungry and there was a food dish to protect. Since he is getting all the food he can handle and then some, things have gotten a bit easier between the two. It helps that when his stomach is full he just hunkers down on the couch and sleeps.

Senior tabby cat grooming
Chandler - I love his ear tufts
Because of his hunger, and the healing he needs to do with that leg, and my fear of his going hypoglycemic, I held off giving him insulin initially.  His blood glucose levels slowly started to rise, and he is currently on 1 unit of insulin but I am going to monitor him very closely.

Poor Abby is a whole different story.  Her BG readings were in the 300s.  The vet recommended 5 units of insulin BID, which is contrary to the general recommendation of starting with 'start low and go slow' protocols.  I gave her 1 unit and it dropped her blood sugar levels about 100 points over the course of the day. A nice decent drop, but it is still leaving her a bit high, so I gave her two units last night. A better dose might have been 1.5 but since she has been untreated for so long and she too has a limp, I wanted to see if we could knock a few points from her nadir.

Abby is also quite fearful.  Her trust has been broken and I have a feeling it was broken by a woman just because of the way she looks at me when I move too fast for her liking. She was also hungry when she got her and is eating quite a bit, but not nearly as much as Chandler. However she absolutely adores my husband, and will sit next to him and purr and let him pat her. He has not combed out her mats, nor tested her blood, nor given her antibiotics. I still have one mat I couldn't get off her with out making her growl, I am hopeful that she'll start working on it when she starts feeling better.  She too is limping on her hind leg, and I want to do some research on the best course of treatment for it.. I know that many people have given OTC supplements to help treat it.

matted fur on tabby cat.
Abby's remaining mat - that I know of
Tabby cat looking at a mirror
Abby really seems to like that mirror
I told the shelter that I'd take these two if they make sure I get some kittens soon.  I promised Chandler a few days to a week.. Abby is here at least until the 17th because she's on medication and I figure it is just easier to keep her here and do that. Considering they are eating 12 cans of Fancy Feast a day, they are going to be eating me out of house and home.. but that's OK.. I bet you they slow down soon..

Sunday, April 13, 2014

An apology and a clarification

"jamie" commented on my ranting post about Reader's Digest's article on pet secrets. She made some very valid points.  What she failed to realize that my post was a share of an email I wrote - which was written to make a point that people should question the source of their information, and it was NOT a condemnation of RDs, but of Big Food's attempt to influence them.

Reader's Digest did not just pull those two 'secrets' out of thin air.  SOMEONE told them that grains are good and raw food is bad.  I can only assume that they didn't get it from 'Big Pet Food' but from a vet. And that vet probably absolutely believes they aren't in bed with BPF... I've never met or heard of a vet who says "Oh yes, I let BPF dictate what I do as a vet"

When I mentioned that Big Food is doing it's best to dictate what nutritional information gets out there, I do have more than one source of information.  But I did not say this to imply that all RDs are corrupt, or even that most are.  I was making a point that 'Big Food' is trying to influence them. Just as BPF is trying to influence the vets.

You are free to rag on Mercola all you want, but the fact that he has or hasn't studied nutrition is not the point.  The point is that "Big Food" is doing its best to convince the government that their highly processed foods are part of a healthy diet. That we should completely disregard the fact that GMO foods are not long term tested for safety, and the the tests they do have are do say they are safe are bought and paid for by Big Food. There are studies that prove they are harmful, but Big Food does their best to discount them at every turn.  They throw money at government officials to support legislation that prevents GMO labeling, etc.. It does not take someone with an RD or a PHD or even a college degree to see what Big Food is doing - which is what the reference I made said.

Jamie, I do not know your philosophy, or what you promote.  Unfortunately I have not had the best of luck with receiving proper nutritional information for my body. I have gone to several dietitians and RDs for my own health when I started becoming extremely fatigued and cold after losing 70lbs.  I also started gaining weight despite the conventional approach of 'eating healthy', 'eating less', and 'exercising more'.  I had a 500+ calorie deficit every day and yet I gained weight.  I went to my doctor.  I went to an endocrinologist, I went to an RD, I read many blogs and articles by RDs, I went to another doctor, and another RD who told me not to eat pork because it is toxic because pigs do not sweat.  I had one who told me that soy was a good source of protein - even though it is very high in estrogenic compounds and most of it is GMO. And that skim milk is good for me, despite the fact that it has MSG and damaged cholesterol from the skimming process. I had one tell me to drink water till my urine ran clear to make sure I was well hydrated, even though doing so flushed most of the electrolytes out of my body and caused my heart to have PVCs.  I had another tell me to 'drink less' when she learned that I drank the recommended amount of water, but she could not give me a reason for it. I was eating 1500 calories a day and was told if I wanted to lose weight I should consider going lower.  I've seen people being told to go under the 1200 threshold, despite that doing so puts you into starvation mode.  I went gluten free, I removed all of the common allergens from my diet, I did everything 'right' and the only thing that started to help my health was a rejection of almost all current health advice.

Just as I fully believe there are competent vets out there, I fully believe there are competent RDs out there - ones that have not been influenced by Big Food - but since Big Food is working directly with the government to influence what is appropriate nutritional information it can be confusing, I assume for everyone.

Jamie I have no doubt you know a boat load more than I do about how the body deals with food, and I bet you are wealth of knowledge and would be really interesting to have a conversation with. I am sorry you were insulted by my referencing Mercola and his pointing out that Big Food does its best to fund nutritional information that is put out there.

I have a feeling you are probably going to be even more bothered by this post clarifying why I believe what I believe, and why I believe it, and for that I am sorry too.  I have been put in a position where I have had to question everything I had ever been told about nutrition in order to function.   I've touched upon this subject on this blog before citing my own health journey to make a point about my cats... My health is still not fully recovered from my two years of 'being healthy' and the nearly two years of trying to figure out why my 'being healthy' was ruining my health.  The simple fact that 90-95% of the people who lose weight regain it should be fact enough that we do not know enough about human health to make many hard and fast claims.

It has been hard hitting my head upon the wall of being told the convention approach is the right way only to find out that it is woefully lacking... be it for my cats or myself. And as such I believe we all need to think for ourselves..

and as always, I am completely open to being wrong.  I still read everything new on nutrition be it for my cats or myself.

and I seriously hope I'm done ranting for a while, because that isn't what this blog is supposed to be about.  Paws crossed kittens show up soon..

The post where I get on my soap box and rant.. again

Rene over at ATC contacted me regarding an article she saw in the May 2014 issue of Reader's Digest. She wrote a post about it, asking people to write to RD and tell them what we felt about the last two "secrets" they shared..   Yes, I was a little bitter when I wrote to them.  Rene encouraged me to share my words here since I told her I sent her an email
So in the May issue of your magazine you have an article "50 Secrets Your Pet Won't Tell You".    I take extreme exception to this article.. as none of them are really secretes, and worst of all you started dabbling in something you had no business dabbling in, pet nutrition.
"Secret" 49 regarding 'hype' about grain free food.  Who told you it was hype?  Pet food makers?  Maybe you went to an actual vet who told you this, but were they ever trained in nutrition?  Did this vet tell you that dogs and cats have COMPLETELY different nutritional needs (and the same goes for every other pet species, rabbits, birds, etc so making such a blanket statement regarding pet food is not only lazy reporting it is incompetence) Cats are "obligate carnivores" and if you do not know why that means cats shouldn't have grains in their diets, let me hand you a dictionary..
How about you talk to a veterinarian nutritionist, one who has actually studied feline nutrition like Lisa Pierson DVM over at or Elizabeth Hodgkins DVM who wrote the book "Your Cat"  and then go consult one who studies canine nutrition.  I don't know any off the top of my head as I am an a feline advocate, but I'm sure you can find one rather easily.
Lest you think I'm ragging on vets, please note that if YOU have a question of nutrition beyond 'eat more fruits and vegetables' your own doctor will refer you to a RD or an RDN (which if you aren't careful will land you in the pocket of big food - )

As for #50, yes, raw diets MAY cause cracked teeth or bacterial infections, but you do know that more 'cooked' and 'processed' foods have been recalled for bacterial issues then raw right? How about all of those foods that have been tainted
I personally had a problem with a commercial treat product I purchased. Getting the company to accept any responsibility for the issue is impossible, and most companies dismiss individual claims using the excuse that anything could have caused it..  Just as GM did with their cars for 14 years..

Do you know why the ASPCA, the CDC and the great and awesome "Prevention" discourages raw diets? The ASPCA follows the JAVMA, which follows the money.  The major pet food companies donate a lot of money and do a lot of 'research' that supports their food products as being the best alternative (why wouldn't they, they have a financial stake in the outcome.  It would be like if PepsiCO studied the healthfulness of Pepsi and then spent millions of dollars to convince the RDs of the world that their product is fine in moderation - oh wait.. they did )  The CDC is against it because of their absolute fear of salmonella and ecoli.  While it is appropriate that we are aware of these and other bacterial contamination, using basic sanitary practices and being aware of where you source your food - something we should be doing anyway because I don't know about you but I am not all that interested in eating killed ecoli or salmonella.
Pet food companies believe they can provide food that is 'complete and balanced' for your pet.  I find this claim fascinating in the fact that we still don't even know everything there is to know about nutrition in general.  The more the 'experts' dabble in our own health the unhealthier we are getting as a society.  Back before we had "health experts", most of the human population was thin and relatively healthy.  Moves to reclaim our health harken that we need to return to traditional foods turning away from processed foods and food like substances that were invented in the last 100 years..

it is not nearly as difficult recreating a pet's natural diet as you might thing.  Some meat, some bone, some organ.  Try to keep the bone size down to something akin to what the animal might actually take down in the wild.  A cat would never take down a cow, so giving a cat a cow bone is silly.  Yes a cat would eat dead cow if it came across it in it's travels since a cat is not above being a carrion, but on the whole if you stick to smaller prey, the cat's teeth and digestive system were designed (either by design or evolution) to rip flesh from bones, crack bones and consume them.  You will not find a wild cat who breaks into grain stores or hunts down wild corn.  Although you will find them frequently hanging out in those areas to catch the mice and the birds that feed off those grains - which is how cats became domesticated in the first place.
I have a feeling you don't really care if these 'secrets' are accurate or not, but I in good conscious could not let this go with out saying something..

Webmaster of
foster home for kittens since 2002
owner of 7 raw fed cats - several of which are alive simply because they are on a raw diet.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

The post where I get on my soap box and rant..

So I was surfing twitter and ran across this..
and wouldn't you know it, Hill's is still putting on nutritional symposiums for vets... and vet colleges are still hosting them and giving their sponsored pitches weight and gravitas they simply do not deserve.

Those of us who take up the cause - that commercial cat foods might not be all you are told that it is - learn that vets do not actually study "feline nutrition" so turning to your vet to find out what foods you should feed your cat is kinda like going to the guy who paints your car telling you what gas to buy.  People who go into the veterinarian field do take a nutrition class, but from everything I have been told it is an animal nutrition class and focuses a lot on large animals: cows, horses, etc while minimally touching on pets. Yes, they can continue on to focus more on different aspects of nutrition, but it is not required.

Remember your own MD doctor did not study nutrition, and refers you to a registered dietitian when you have questions of nutrition.. only more often than not the vet doesn't do that. Vets often rely on the nutritional information they are given by major pet food companies in the form of hand outs, pamphlets, fliers, and yes, continuing education courses such as that mentioned above. I do not want to believe that a majority of the vets do this maliciously, but because colleges continue to allow pet food companies to 'teach' nutrition, they simply rely on them because it is easy. The pet food companies also take on the legal issues if there is a problem with the food, which also covers a number of other issues for a vet. So, they are told by their collage these companies are right, they get gobs of information from the company saying they are right, they get the legal coverage, and they make money when they sell the product.  Who can turn that down??

I do hope you take a minute and go to the website for this "continuing education" "class" mentioned in Dr. Susan's tweet.. does it look like it was hosted by Hill's??  It doesn't to me, but yet Dr. Susan says that it was hosted by them, and they are prominently featured in the only photo there. (There is some more information and more pictures on this Facebook page)

Gee.  I wonder what foods this symposium is going to say is the appropriate food to be feeding. And for the love of all things scientific, why oh why is there a topic in this symposium for feeding OBLIGATE CARNIVORES that lists 'carbs' before proteins???

Topics included: “Feline Feeding Management: It’s Not Just the Food,” and “Cats, Carbs and Protein: From Research to Cinical Practice.”

(and yes, that is exactly how it is written on their website.. typo and all)


So when you hear someone talking about the importance of nutrition in your cat, and they tell you the vet is in the pocket of "big pet food" - this is why.  This has been going on forever, and it apparently has no intention of stopping.

I know it is an over generalization to say "your vet knows nothing about feline nutrition" and it does a disservice to those vets that do take the time when we say things like that.. and maybe you are one of the lucky ones who has a vet who actually learned what an obligate carnivore is and figured out feeding a diet high in corn, or wheat, or potatoes, or peas, or cranberries, or squash, or spinach....oh lets just go with plant based ingredients or I could be here all day... is not a good idea and decided to do a little more reading on the subject. If so, you have one of the good ones. Bring your vet some flowers or brownies next time you go in and say thank you.

If you aren't one of those people.  If your vet's lobby is covered in Hill's or Royal Canin, or bags of dry food, with lots of sponsorship looking logos all over the place, take what ever advice on food they give you with a grain of salt. There are a lot of great resources out there to help you understand what your options are for what ever your vet is suggesting and you really should look into them even if you end up following your vet's advice.  Remember, your vet works for you.. if you ever feel that you are in a situation where that is not the case, feel free to find a new vet.

Friday, April 11, 2014

2013 - a year in review..

I like to do photo books at the end of each year. Usually I get a code for a free photo book in September, but this year I didn't get one until recently.

They give you a limited amount of time to do it.  After I got it, I spent the weekend culling through my photos and uploaded them to Shutterfly.  Monday came and I forgot all about it.. Tuesday I was a little stressed out with Jack not feeling well.. come Wednesday it was use it or lose it.

I was chatting with the awesome and amazing Rene, and I thought it would be so cool to see what she would do with it, and so I said I wished she would do it for me, and wasn't I ever so tickled that she took me up on it!

I made a couple of changes from her original choices, added in a few more pages to make sure I got all of the highlights of 2013.  The actual book arrived this week, and my husband LOVED looking through it.. I thought you might too..

Shutterfly allows you to customize your photo book just the way you want.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Interview with a Fosterer - Amelia Hughes of Cat & Birdie

Today's Interview comes from Amelia Hughes of Cat & Birdie. I adore her blog, but really I just wanted an excuse to 'borrow' her header and share it all with you..  I mean seriously, look at it!!

Amelia graciously agreed to participate, and I'm sure you'll all end up adoring her and her blog as much as I do.  Thank you Amelia!!

Introduce yourself and where do you hail from?
My name is Amelia and I was born and raised in Michigan.  After college, I spent ten years living in California and have spent the last fourteen years in Boston.

What rescue group, shelter or sanctuary do you foster for?
I currently foster for the Animal Rescue League of Boston.

What kinds of animals do you normally foster?
I foster special needs cats, kittens, and occasionally puppies.

How did your adventure being a fosterer begin?
I volunteered at a lot of fix-a feral clinics and worked on animal hoarding cases, so I started fostering the semi-feral kittens from the clinics and the very sick kittens from hoarding situations.

Amelia bottle feeding a foster kitten
Amelia and foster - courtesy of Amelia Hughes
How do your keep yourself from becoming too attached to the fosters you help?
We have a multi-cat house now and so our family is complete.  With all of my experience working in animal welfare, I know our limitations (financially, emotionally, physically) to properly parent many fur kids and at some point it also clicked with me that although these fosters “need” me for a while, they don’t need me for life.  I learned to have faith that most of the time they are going to find really great homes.

What is most frustrating for you as a foster?
The lack of progressive foster care programs for special needs cats and kittens….thankfully, this seems to be changing as we work to become a no-kill nation and examples/resources like Best Friends and Maddie’s Institute are on the frontline.

What is most rewarding?
Seeing the progress these kittens and cats make…the baby steps if you will.  Whether it’s learning to trust people, or using the litter box for the first time, or seeing an older cat that has never seen a toy before start playing with it, these milestones are everything.

Nine little kittens - courtsey of Amelia Hughes

Do you have pets of your own?  How do they respond to the foster animals?
We have many adult cats and one dog.  Only our youngest cat (who turns two in July) has anything to do with the fosters and that is only if they are kittens.  She is a really good role model when we foster those single orphan kittens that are 5 - 8 weeks old.

What kind of advice can you give to someone who might be wanting to become a foster?
Do it!!!!  And talk to other foster parents who love fostering…they are a great resource.  Also, it honestly will be one of the most rewarding, and at times, the most heartbreaking thing you will do….but it is worth every minute of it.

When you are not saving animals what do you like to do?
Sleep, flip through fashion and home magazines, and relax with family and friends over a nice bottle of wine.

Philbert - courtesy of Amelia Hughes

And now the questions from Inside the Actors Studio:

What is your favorite word?
Kittens…but you have to say it loud and pronounce it “KIH - TENS”
What is your least favorite word?
Juicy.  Especially when it’s written on the backside of sweatpants.
What turns you on?
Genuine kindness.
What turns you off?
People who won’t collaborate with others for the greater good.
What sound or noise do you love?
The sound my ginger cat Fennie makes when you pick her up.  She literally says, “no, no, no.”
What sound or noise do you hate?
What is your favorite curse word?
The f-bomb.  It’s a classic.
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Fashion designer.
What profession would you not like to do?
Anything that would require me to wear a suit.
If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?
“Welcome, the neonatal kitten nursery is to your left.”

Chester - courtesy of Amelia Hughes

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A trip to the shelter

The shelter was having Reiki today for staff and volunteers.  A local practitioner is a supporter of the shelter and they've done this before.  Considering how much stress I've been under I gave them a call yesterday to see if they had any additional openings, and they did.  So I signed myself up for one and went down.

Now I "know" what Reiki is, but I've never had a session.  I also haven't done anything like this at the shelter so I wasn't quite sure what to expect.  They had me lay on the table while three of them laid their hands on me.  It was really rather interesting, as I seemed to be able to feel what they were trying to do and I seemed to feel that I had some serious road blocks that weren't quite ready to be let go of yet.. All in all a very interesting experience and I say if you get the chance, you should try it.

but.. being that this is a cat blog.. you didn't come here to read about me being blocked..

Hello, my name is Reiko!  I'm a handsome 6 year old  mandcat
and I'm FIV+
Reiko is a stunner!  He's got beautiful blue eyes (his ears were a little dirty but he didn't want me looking at that) and man this guy had so much attitude it nearly slayed me..

Next to Reiko was Krista, a three year old little girl that apparently needs to gain some serious weight. There is a card on her cage asking for her to be over fed.

She has a nice red blaze on the top of her head too.. it was hard to get a picture of her because she wouldn't sit still, and I didn't try to hard because right next door was...

Charlotte's write up on her cage door at the shelter

I hung out with Charlotte for a few minutes while I waited for my appointment time.  She was a little hesitant about coming to the front of the cage, but I did my best to entice her and make it worth her while.  She finally climbed down from the karanda bed and I was able to give her some scritches and kisses.  But then it was my time, so I shut the cage door, promising to come back.

On the way to where they were having the sessions, I saw Gigi..

I can not believe she is still there.  Now if you remember, she was given the name "Little Cat" and the shelter won't change it.  I keep telling them, change her name to Gigi and she'll go home in an instant.  Change it to Lady Gigi and you'll probably have someone give you a $100 donation.   Gigi is a character, she'll let you hold her but she makes it obvious it isn't her first choice.  She'll let you snuggle her and kiss her, but she's just an 'old skinny black and white cat" with a silly name.. so no one really gives her a chance.

After my session I went back to see Charlotte.

I did my best to entice her to reach through the bars.  If you talk to people who adopt from shelters, they often tell you their cat reached out and grabbed them... so, anything to help our little girl get attention (Yes, I have tried teaching Gigi that, she says it is beneath her to preform.. she wants someone who appreciates her as is) It took Charlotte a few minutes to figure out what I wanted, but I say she succeeded very well - wouldn't you?

Apparently Reiko wasn't all that impressed with my teaching :)  I took Charlotte out of the cage and let her snuggle with me, rubbing her face all over mine. Oddly enough it almost seems if her fur finally decided to grow back.. *rolls eyes* why am I not surprised.

This is Harley.. he's a seven and a half yr old mancat.. just LOOK at those thumbs in that first photo.. sadly someone felt those feet needed to have their claws removed..  *shrug* Hopefully his new people show up soon..

Down at the far end from Charlotte is Chandler.  This boy is breaking my heart.  I have shared him with you before (the kitty with the cast on his leg) and because he is diabetic he is still there.  His cast is off but apparently he's a little depressed.

I patted him and GOBS of loose fur came off him. I am not in a position to take him right now, but he is still weighing on me pretty heavily.  I have a feeling he'll be in the kitten room come the weekend..  His back leg is still pretty wobbly, and it looked a little thin to me in the half second or two he let me see it.


Wouldn't it be great if we could save them all, that there were homes that were willing to take a plain ol black and white cat, or a diabetic kitty,  or a big hunk o love FIV kitty.. with out them having to sit at the shelter for months or years waiting..

Yeah, it really would.. 

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