Cats eat 15% more food in Winter

We people know that chilly weather makes us hungry for more food. This time of year we begin to crave roasted vegetables and meats, and we hunt for new recipes for stews and soups. Hot food warms our bones and hearts!

Often we don’t realize that our cats respond to weather changes like we do. During Summer while we are eating salad our carnivore friends might leave food behind in the bowl. But in Winter the bowl is licked clean and they meow for more.

How much more? A study that we found told us that in Winter cats will eat about 15% more food than during the rest of the year.

Be a rock star Feline Chef and don’t grab food for your cat from the fridge and serve it cold. Steam it for a minute or two, or warm it up in a pan with a bit of water so it won’t stick.

Warming up or steaming cat food does some nice things for your cats:

  • If the cat has a cold or a respiratory problem warming the food brings out the aroma. Cats only eat what they can smell.
  • Increases digestibility especially for older cats with slower digestive systems
  • Nice for cats who are missing teeth
  • Kittens and cats of any age will be reminded of warm mother’s milk. The food will be much more appealing and soothing to any cat.

Four years and 38 cats later a study by the University of Liverpool School of Veterinary Science revealed some interesting things about cats.

Veterinarian and study author, Dr Alex German, said: “Cats, like many humans are more inclined to comfort eat when it’s cold outside but, in their case, it’s likely to be due to the extra energy they need to keep warm when out and about.”

Seasonal food intake has been examined in the past on farm animals, such as dairy cows, to establish new ways of increasing milk production, but this is the largest study that has yet taken place with domestic cats.
Dr German said: “People should consider the amount of food their cats need at different times of year as this can be part of helping them to maintain a healthy weight.”

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-05-cats-winter.html#jCp

Dr. Cheryl Schwartz DVM on helping your Diabetic cat




When Dr. Cheryl Schwartz wanted to learn about veterinary acupuncture she found that a book on the subject did not exist – even in China where acupuncture originated. She turned to the text books for human doctors, and took courses in human acupuncture knowing she could transfer what she learned for people to animals. After years of treating patients with 4 feet and a tail she wrote her book “Four Paws, Five Directions, Traditional Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs” which is now a text book in China.




Here is a Cat Faeries exclusive Q and A with Dr. Cheryl Schwartz DVM:

1) I know that for my own diabetes (type 2) the ideal diet is very low carb, moderate protein, and high fat. It’s worked wonders. Would you say that a similar diet for cats who have diabetes or for people who don’t want their cat to get diabetes is a good idea? And what about for cats with kidney failure? It seems to me that both ways of feeding a cat is ideal.

Dr. Schwartz: Great ideas and questions! Low carb, moderate protein and high fat are beneficial for cats with diabetes and kidney failure

2) I’m eating a lot of organ meats (also known as offal). In particular, lamb sweetbreads*. Which by the way, my cats love (recipe to follow). How do you feel about organ meats vs muscle meat for cats with diabetes or kidney failure?

Dr Schwartz: I prefer small amounts of organ meat mixed with muscle meat, because higher amounts seem to create constipation and stagnation in cats.

* Cat Faeries Note: See below for two recipies for lamb sweetbreads – one for cats, one for people.

3) My MD has me on 70 grams of protein a day and I’m surprised that I’m liking eating less protein and more fat. What might you recommend for an average sized cat of about 11 pounds? What ratio of meat to fat to vegetable do you like?

Dr. Schwartz: I don’t usually break it down between fat and protein. I use more TCM therapy. I recommend the fatty meats like lamb, chicken, beef. Some cats with diabetes do well on stewed or boiled pork loin or butt. It is important to make sure the cat does not also have pancreatitis where fat metabolism/absorption can create more inflammation, so each cat seems to be unique. Ratio between meat and vegetables would be 2/3 meat to 1/3 veggies, including some sweet potato.

4) I no longer cook my own meats at a high heat because the high heat creates “advanced glycation” which happens inside the body when charred, grilled, or fried meat is consumed. I understand that this means it turns to sugar when it’s eaten and this is one of the reason diabetes is has become practically an epidemic for people, and also our cats and dogs. I steam, stew, boil, simmer, or poach my meats now and eat them pretty rare. Would you recommend those techniques for a cat’s meat? Do you have anything to say about advanced glycation and how to prevent it?

Dr Schwartz: High heat is present in dry food and it does increase the sugar content. I recommend stewing or poaching, or hot pot as best ways to prepare. If the cat can tolerate and like it, I would recommend raw food.

5) There has been a lot of talk lately about resistant starch and safe starches for people – basically steamed potatoes and white rice, severed with something acidic (like lemon juice), fat and served cold. For people it can be healing to the gut and it gives people some carbs which do not jack their blood sugar. Any value in this theory for cats?

Dr. Schwartz: I like steamed sweet potato or pumpkin for cats.

6) Are there safe carbs for a cat? Any safe grains?

Dr. Schwartz: It depends on the cat. I really like the sweet potato, pumpkin. Another alternative is mashed cooked lentils or garbanzo beans with cooked white rice. Adding a small piece of pickle* is sometimes tolerated by some cats. Either the cat likes it or not.

* Cat Faeries Note: Coming up in another newsletter, how to properly lacto ferment vegetables suitable for you and your cats.

7) Which fats are good for cats? For people ideal fats are saturated and those include: coconut oil, MCT oil, lard, grass fed butter.

Dr Schwartz: Cat Faeries fish oil mainly. Grass fed butter*, olive oil, small amounts coconut oil.

* Cat Faeries Note: www.mcclellandsdairy.com/ or www.pureindianfoods.com are who we buy our grass fed butter or ghee.

8) Which flower essences help cats with either or both conditions?

Dr. Schwartz: Kidney Kitty is good. It would also be helpful for diabetes cats

9) You are big on color therapy. Would you recommend shining a colored light on a cat?

Dr Schwartz: For the kidneys use blue light. Shine the light around the kidney area in lumbar vertebrae. For diabetes use yellow or green light and shine it at the end of the ribs (Thoracic V) and beginning of the lumbar as well as Spleen 6.

10) Any other therapies that a person might employ?

Dr. Schwartz: Other great modalities might be sound therapy with tuning forks.

11) What acupressure points are good for diabetic cats and cats with some form of renal failure?



For diabetes



For renal failure

(Photos from “Four Paws, Five Directions, Traditional Chinese Medicine for Cats and Dogs” used with permission of Dr. Cheryl Schwartz)



Your Cat Faeries’ Lamb Sweetbreads Recipie

Lamb sweetbreads are the pancreas and thymus of young sheep and they are one of the most nutrient dense foods there is. You only want to buy them from organic/pastured sources. To find them in your state: www.eatwild.com

  • Soak a pound or so of sweet breads in cold water for two hours
  • You might rinse them a few times during their soak
  • Strain in a colander in the sink
  • You want to pull off the big chunky fat pieces – the reason is that this fat isn’t delicious, it can be bitter, and the tough texture clashes with the dumpling like texture of the sweet breads
  • Try to remove some of the membrane without tearing or compromising the shape of the sweet breads
  • Cut them into uniform sizes so that they cook evenly. About 1 and a half inch pieces.
  • Par boil in gently boiling water for 5 minutes and drain

IF SERVING TO CATS – STOP HERE! The seasonings which are good and healthful to us are not good for cats (onion especially)

Continue on only for people…

  • Melt a lot of butter in a pan
  • Add some white wine and stir vigorously to make a slight reduction
  • Seasonings can include salt and pepper, a pinch of cumin powder, onion powder (organic and delicious onion powder can be bought at Azure Farms online)
  • Add the sweet breads
  • Simmer for 20 to 25 minutes. Interestingly, they do not dry out, yet if they are undercooked the texture isn’t very nice.
    At this point you can remove them and do a thicker white wine and butter deduction sauce by adding more of both, and stirring vigorously
  • You could even put some heavy cream in at this point or a bit of soft goat cheese
  • Put the sweetbreads back in the pan so the flavors marry with the sauce
  • Some people fry up the fat bits and have them separately
  • Leftovers are so good that they are even good cold!
  • You might experiment with adding cooked sausage and mushrooms

GMO Frankensalmon – soon to be in your cat’s food? Believe it!

The battle for safe food for ourselves and our fur family is never ending. And now the sneaky FDA approved of GMO (genetically modified organism) salmon. And as you know from the crazy defeat of California’s Proposition 37, manufacturers are not required to label GMO foods as such. It defies logic how anyone could be against knowing what they are eating.

Well, Cat Faeries cares. We care about you and we care about your cats. This article does not discuss cat food and GMO salmon (or other GMO’s) but it’s a good read to get you familiar with the reasons why this is so wrong. If they want to feed it to us, then of course they want to feed it to your cats.

http://www.rodale.com/genetically-modified-salmon-0

Coming soon in The Cat Faeries Companion:

Why we do not eat fish of any kind, ever, including sea salt, sea weed, and fish oil.

Why we don’t like grain of any kind, ever.

2013 list of Susan Thixton approved cat food – get your copy, we got ours!

Susan Thixton is a cat/dog food advocate who we’ve written about several times. Her newsletter is something everyone should subscribe to and read.

She’s presented a list of foods she would feed to her own animals. You must make a donation and buy the list. Why? Because this gal works really hard for us, and she deserves to be compensated.

Here’s how to buy her 2013 list of foods:

http://truthaboutpetfood2.com/the-2013-list

Meet Matt Snyder, our guest editor, with his article on pet food nutrition – not to be missed!

On an all too brief get-away recently your cat faerie bumped into Matt Snyder and this very good and well written article. Matt has a shop for animal companions in Buellton, California which is in the heart of California’s beautiful central coast (if you saw the movie Sideways you’ve seen the area)

Matt’s advice for deciphering labels is a treasure. He’s done excellent research with an uncommon viewpoint. The only aspect of this article which we disagree with is corn. We at Cat Faeries are grain free for many reasons. It’s probably good to assume that any commercial corn is genetically modified and we believe this to be very dangerous.


Great nutrition leads to happy and healthy pets!
By Matt Snyder

When we talk about nutrition there are many factors that we need to think about when deciding on what food is best for our pets. Most foods you find on the market are foods that our pets should survive on but 80% are NOT foods that our pets will thrive on! We need to remind ourselves that our dogs and cats are domesticated. That process changes them dramatically in what they need as our companion animals verse what they would need out in the wild as wolves, coyotes and forest cats.

There are so many foods available and so many recipes that could be made at home, most of these are not nutritionally balanced. I hope to clarify some myths and rumors that run rampant in the pet industry and give you some tips as a pet owner on how to provide a great foundation of nutrition for your four legged family members.

First we should probably get this out of the way; Corn is not bad for pets. This rumor started in 1979 when an up and coming dog food company wanted to get into the pet food market. They decided to start the rumor that corn was bad and used as cheap filler or causes allergies. Corn contains: highly digestible proteins, carbohydrates for energy, linoleic acid, beta carotene and Vitamin A. There are different grades of corn available for use in pet foods. The highest grade corn has a very low moisture content and little to no dust; If ground down properly to the right micron size corn is a great ingredient and highly digestible. The two lower grades of corn are not a good ingredient and they are defiantly used as fillers or help keep a food low in cost.

Next let’s talk about how to read a pet food label. I know this is going to be a huge insight into how lacking our current regulation of pet food labels here in the US. AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officials) is the regulating association for pet food here in America. The last update they had to their regulations was almost 20 years ago. Since then information regarding our pet’s nutritional needs has changed dramatically. The tips below will allow you to critically think about and decide what food is best for your pet.

  • True or False: The first ingredient listed is what the pet food contains most of?

    False – AAFCO regulations state that ingredients are to be listed in order of precooked weight. This is incredibly misleading to the consumer. Since meats like: chicken, lamb and beef contain high amounts of moisture they are place first on the ingredient panel, when in all reality after they are cooked and processed they are lucky to be 5% of the total diet. That being said make sure when reading the label to keep in mind that the first ingredient isn’t always what they say it is!

  • True or False: If a label states 100% Beef then that is exactly what is in the can?

    False – Yet again a loop hole in the system. It is required by law that at least 95% of what is list on that can is that single protein. Make sure to check the moisture content. Too much moisture decreases the amount of protein in the can.

    Here are a few other useful hints: If a label states dinner, formula, recipe or entrée it is required that there is between 25-94% of what they are listing in that food. Then if a label states “with” only 3-24% of the “with” is required to be in that food. Now most misleading of all is when a label says “Flavor”. That term requires that 3% of the pets that eat this food must recognize that “flavor”. My question to you is how do we know when a pet can recognized a specific flavor?

  • AAFCO requires that there are only four components that need to be listed on pet food bags. These are: Crude Protein, Crude Fat, Crude Fiber and Moisture. All these except moisture are the minimum amounts, while moisture is listed as maximum. Below I have a table that has each of the components that AAFCO requires and three different products. Which product do you think is a can of food for a healthy 12 year old dog? Now keep in mind only one of these would be suitable to feed to your dog.

    Guaranteed Analysis Product A Product B Product C
    Crude Protein, min % 6.0 6.0 4.0
    Crude Fat, min % 4.0 5.0 2.5
    Crude Fiber, min %

    6.3 2.5 1.0
    Moisture, max % 78 78 78

    • Product A is old shoes, oil, coal and water
    • Product B is Old Yeller® Dog Food for growth & maintenance
    • Product C is Science Diet® Mature Adult Chicken Entrée Dog Food

    It is shocking to think that a pair of shoes contains very similar guaranteed analysis to that of dog food. This just goes to show that AAFCO regulations are so out of date. If there is anything else listed on the analysis it is because that pet food company has decided to list additional components. Hopefully these are beneficial but that is up to their discretion.

I think it is time to look at what factors we as consumers should look for in a pet food. Questions I would ask about a brand would be:

  • Do they use quality ingredients – where are they sourced from? Are they made in the USA?
  • Does the company own their own manufacturing plant and/or cannery? If so where is it located?
  • Does the company do feeding trials to provide the best quality product to the consumer and their pets?
  • How is the food packaged for storage on the shelf? Has it been nitrogen flushed? What is the quality of the bag used?
  • How long has the company been in business for? Do they have veterinarians and nutritionist on staff?
I know this article has given you a huge amount of information. The goal is to allow you as a pet owner to be knowledgeable about what you are feeding your four legged family members and how to sort fact from fiction. Remember we want to feed foods that allow our pet the THRIVE rather than just survive! Till next time…enjoy your pets!

Slow Food Movement and cats

We have been supporters of the Slow Food Movement since around 1990. We shop, eat, cook, and live . . . slowly. When we work we try to make every move slowly and carefully with much thought and attention to detail and its cause and effect. Unless forced otherwise we buy only food grown or produced by persons in our bio region or watershed who are committed to organic, Permaculture, or Biodynamic principles. The same principles of Slow food and living Slow extend to how we care for and feed our cats and bunnies.

Our cats are fed a diet of raw grass fed meat. We purchase it from a local producer who we know by name and have the personal phone number of. We can ask them questions and get real answers. We know these folks well enough to know the names of their family members and their housecats! We enjoy the relationship we have with Linda Alston of Alston Farm and trust that the meat she sells us is as pure and clean as can be. We know the animals are raised with compassion, that they are healthy, and that they are not given drugs. The Jersey cows graze year round on grass in the California sunshine. We also like that Linda is close to our 100 mile watershed and is in our bio-region.

Our cats eat twice a day, breakfast and dinner. Preparing their food is a way we can slow down and put our energy into their good health and well being. As I put the meat in a bowl I think of Linda who I bought it from and I send nice thoughts her way. When I stir in minced baby greens I think of my garden where they grew or the person I bought them from at the farmer’s market, again sending out good wishes and nice thoughts.

If I add baked sweet potato (which cats love) I think about how I incorporate what the cats eat with what we eat. I roast or bake enough sweet potatoes for all of us. The greens which go into their food are also in my salad or part of a meal. We don’t give our cats much grain, but if there is some left over rice I’ll add a bit to the mix. My rice comes from a grower who’s in my bio region. Sometimes its from a fair trade company which works with organic and sustainable growers in far away places. I add Kidney Kitty flower essence formula as all of our cats are over 12 years old.

As I mix their food carefully and slowly I think about my beloved geriatric cats who’s ages range from 12 to over 18. I know that they look great and have lustrous fur and fairly minor health problems compared to other cats their age or even younger. I believe that eating commercial cat food on a daily basis is not good. Our cats do sometimes get canned cat food, but I’m very fussy about what I buy. I call the cat food companies and ask if all of their ingredients are US manufactured. I will not buy any food items which contain ingredients from China or similar countries (with the exception of things like tea, but its organically grown). Rarely do my cats get canned cat food more than a few times a week. While I mix their food and spoon it into their bowls I send out healthy and loving thoughts to all 6 to my cats.

I like homemade food for my cats for many reasons. I know the name and source of every single ingredient which is how I feed my human family and friends. The mystery ingredients in commercial cat food scare me. And how do we know for sure that the ingredients in prepared food for animals and humans are not toxic or safe? We don’t! We cannot trust corporations to put care and love into what they produce. We certainly cannot trust companies in other countries.

When news of the tainted cat and dog food first hit the media I wondered “why would any US or Canadian company consider buying ingredients like wheat or rice from China when we grow them right here?” Its madness. China and many other countries have appalling standards of cleanliness and health. Do you really trust US corporations who care only about the bottom-line and which buy cheap ingredients to feed you and your cats? Do you trust corporations in places like China?

We feed our cats food made with love. Do corporations love you? Or just your money? Do those workers, who are often slaves or barely paid, resent and hate us? As they are working under force or for little money are they putting their angry thoughts into those goods and ingredients?

Speaking of ingredients, how do we know for sure that every ingredient in prepared food – be it your cat or dog, or yours – does not contain toxic ingredients. Does that food bowl which was made in China contain toxins or give off toxic fumes? If you think we are alarmist then read the recent news articles about the millions of children’s toys which have been recalled because they contain deadly toxins

Cheap cat toys from China, cheap clothing from China, cheap appliances from China. Cheap and cheaper, toxic and dangerous, the list of cheapness grows every day. Then there is the pollution its causing in the countries where all of our manufacturing has gone because they do not have safety standards. Think your safe here on US shores? Read about the clouds of pollution which blow across the Pacific right into our backyards.

Do you know that only 1/2 of 1% of all imports are inspected? That’s not a typo, its a fact. Are you outraged? You should be. The recent cat and dog food deaths caused by poisoned ingredients from China should have scared you, gotten you to ask questions, and changed how you spend your money.

Transporting all that cheap junk to the US on ships requires the burning of a staggering amount of fossil fuel. The next time you say “Wow, I love it, its so cheap.” Think about what your saying and the effect shopping like this has.

Earlier in this post we tossed out some words you may not be familiar with: bio region and watershed. Hop over to Google and learn something new!

Shop: To find grass fed in your state: www.eatwild.com

Read: The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Read: In Praise of Slowness, Challenging the Cult of Speed by Carl Honore’

View: Manufactured Landscape, a film by Edward Burtynsky. View the trailor: http://www.zeitgeistfilms.com/landscapes/
View: Lou Dobbs on MSNBC

Web: FDA website for recalls and warnings on food, health care items and more. Very eye opening indeed!

http://www.fda.gov/opacom/7alerts.html