The Importance of the Food Bowl to Your Cat

 
 

The above video was intended to be funny. It sort of is (sort of) but for us at Cat Faeries we are all about harmonizing multi cat households and we know that each cat needs their own food bowl to keep fighting and stress levels down. Food bowls should also be as far apart as possible for privacy because most cats need the feeling of safety and knowing that others can’t steal their food.

Carnivores don’t like sharing food. It’s upsetting to them and goes against their nature. Stresses like this in the home can lead cats to fighting, spraying, and peeing outside of the box. And you know how unpleasant that is, for everyone!

If you have a cat or two that are particularly territorial or if you have hissing and swatting in the designated dining area consider feeding a cat separately in a bed room with the door closed. Allow the cats enough time to finish their meal before you collect and wash the bowls – usually 30 minutes is more than enough time.

If you do feed a cat in another room it should not have a litter box present. We’ve all heard the expression that “animals don’t eat where they poop.” Would you like eating by the toilet? I didn’t think so!

A bonus to feeding cats is separate rooms is that this is a great way to help a chubby cat lose a few ounces! No sneaking food from other food bowls! In fact to trick the cat into thinking they are getting extra food – divide the portion into two dishes! The cat will feel special because of the illusion that it’s twice as much!

Lastly, food bowls or dishes should be several things: 1) Wide enough for the cat’s face, 2) Made from a safe material and that means NEVER plastic or lead based ceramic: we like clear Pyrex glass bowls. 3) Washed thoroughly with soapy water or in the dish washer each time the cat has eaten to prevent biofilm from accumulating.

What is biofilm you ask? Here’s an article we wrote about it from last year: Your cat’s water bowl – do you know about biofilm?

 
 

Healthy Feline Weight and How to Achieve It

Newton’s Purrspective – Healthy Feline Weight

People often complain that they put on extra pounds during the winter. Indoor cats may have the same problem – too many treats and not enough exercise. Although we do not have any incentive to prepare for swimsuit season, being overweight is a problem and can be a serious health concern. Feline obesity can lead to:

  • Diabetes
  • Liver disease
  • Joint disease
  • Skin problems
  • Shorter life


Isaac Newton

 

The demands of increased body mass may exceed the body’s ability to produce insulin. Obese cats are 2-4 times more likely to develop diabetes.

The liver is a vital organ that supports nearly every other organ in the body. Excess fat stored in the liver (hepatic lipidosis) decreases liver function and can be life threatening.

Of course, excess weight puts stress on joints. If movement is painful Kitty is even less likely to play and burn off calories.

Overweight cats cannot groom themselves properly. The extra weight makes us less flexible and we just can’t reach all the places that need attention. Consequently we may have dry flaky skin and dull fur, even if we have a high quality diet.

Before starting a weight loss program Kitty should have a complete exam. Weight needs to be taken off slowly and should be done through a combination of diet and exercise. The body can’t cope with rapid release of toxins and certain vitamins stored in fat.

FUN FACT – Did you know that, unlike people, cats must get all their vitamin D from food? It is stored in fat, and blood concentrations of vitamin D can be a predictor of feline health.

Your vet may suggest a special weight loss diet or simply smaller portions of Kitty’s regular high protein food. (Obesity in Cats… and What to do About an Overweight Cat – PetMD) Cats are obligate carnivores. We just don’t have the ability to digest carbohydrates the way people and dogs do. We need protein. Under natural conditions our meals would be small and unpredictable.

In fact – one mouse is the perfect meal for an average sized cat! A typical mouse is made of 20 percent protein, 9 percent fat and lots of moisture.

This is a difficult concept for many humans. Food is equated with love and cats have a way of looking “so hungry” we must need at least a small treat. Free feeding (leaving a full food dish out all day) is the human equivalent of sitting next to a large bag of snack food. Kitty may be eating more due to boredom than because she is hungry. Feeding small meals throughout the day has an added advantage of showing exactly how much is eaten (or not).

Follow your vet’s recommendations for portions and number of feedings per day. Weight should be checked at monthly intervals. Toys are a great way to increase activity — everyone in my family loves Cat Faeries toys. But some cats just aren’t interested in catnip. (It is genetically determined and does not mean anything is wrong.) In that case interactive toys (e.g. feathers on a wand), cat furniture for climbing, or even a playmate may help.

Once Kitty has reached a healthy weight follow your vet’s recommendations for maintenance. (Remember, being too thin is also unhealthy. If your cat is losing weight despite eating normally or has stopped eating do not delay in seeking professional help.) Maintaining a healthy weight is one of the ways to increase the chance of a long and happy life for your cat.


Some advice from your Cat Faerie – how to help a chubby cat in a multi cat household lose weight.

First, free feeding is never a good idea. To prevent over eating cats should have two meals a day. Breakfast and dinner. Each cat should have their own food bowl spread out to allow for space between the cats.

Tell your vet how much the plump cat weighs. Ask what the ideal weight for that particular cat is. Ask the vet how many calories a day the cat needs to slowly (and we do mean slowly, quick weight loss leads to liver failure in cats) drop the weight. Ask your vet for a realistic time frame for the weight to come off safely. Call the cat food company and ask how many calories are in the food, so you know exactly how much to measure.

For a chubby cat who needs to lose a few pounds we’ve created a very successful method ~ you will feed that cat in a room separately from the other cats with the door shut. To make this even better – split that cat’s food portion into TWO BOWLS! The cat will be overjoyed first because of the special room but also thinking it’s twice as much food because it’s in two bowls! Allow 20 minutes for all of the cats to eat. Collect the food bowls of the cats in the kitchen first, then the bowl of the cat who’s behind a closed door and let the cat out. Wash in hot soapy water to remove food bits and bio film.

 
 
 

Cats and Vitamin D

We’ve all read articles that we modern people are deficient in disease preventing Vitamin D. Mostly because we just don’t get out and enjoy the outdoors like we used to allowing sunshine and it’s Vitamin D to enter our bodies through our skin and eyes, especially during the early morning. Could it be that our modern housecats are deficient as well? We asked Issac Newton, feline journalist and cat about town who knows everything to chime in! Read the article, then have a quick 10 minute sunshine bath, outside, glasses off, no sleeves!


Newton’s Purrspective – Cats and Vitamin D

Vitamin D helps regulate mineral metabolism, including calcium balance, making it essential for strong bones and teeth. It is called the “sunshine vitamin” because ultraviolet rays from sunlight strike the skin and trigger vitamin D synthesis. https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/VitaminD-HealthProfessional/ You may ask, “Is this why my cat enjoys sleeping in the sun so much?” Actually, no. We just love being warm. (purr purr) Because of our beautiful fur we are not designed to process Vitamin D this way. We need to get it from our food.


Isaac Newton
 
 

In the wild our natural prey provides all the nutrients we need. Housecats must rely on a balanced diet provided by humans, and a good quality commercial food is often all we need. Vitamin D deficiency is extremely rare in cats. However, since Vitamin D is stored in body fat excessive consumption could lead to toxicity. Surprisingly, the most common source of toxicity is a chemical used to kill rodents. http://www.petmd.com/cat/conditions/toxicity/c_ct_vitamin_d_toxicity High levels of Vitamin D (Cholecalciferol (Vitamin D3)) increase the calcium circulating in blood to toxic levels.

Clinical signs include:

One last meow on commercial cat food. If you are feeding dry food alone be sure Kitty has plenty of fresh water. Fatty acids are added to the food, but may not be sufficient to maintain healthy skin and fur. Choose a high quality supplement such as Cat Faeries’ ProNova Fish Oil which is free of environmental toxins.

 
 

Your cat’s water bowl – do you know about biofilm?

Have you ever rubbed your fingers on the inside of your cat’s water bowl and felt a bit of goo or slime on the sides? What you are feeling is called biofilm.

Biofilm provides a cozy environment for organisms including E. coli, listeria, and legionella. When biofilm is not removed on a daily basis biofilm acts as an attractant for all kinds of bacteria and provides a nice comfy home for them to breed and multiply, and cause weakened immunity and disease. Think of biofilm as a living entity waiting to wreak havoc.

Keep biofilm out of your cat’s water and food bowls – wash them daily.

For water bowls:

Dump the left over water into a bucket for your garden along with other reusable water from the kitchen. Wash the bowl with hot water and a few drops of mild dish soap. Rinse and refill with filtered water.

For food bowls:

Even if you feed your cat dry crunchies don’t keep refilling the bowl. You must use a fresh clean bowl for each meal time because the oils from the food and saliva mix together to create a particularly nasty bio film and the oils go rancid (rancid oil is a cancer cell’s friend – cancer feeds on rancid oil and sugars). Keep a rotation of cat food bowls handy so that the time spent preparing their food is shortened for you. Soiled bowls go in the dishwasher or are washed by hand in hot soapy water.

We have 4 cats and we have 12 Pyrex bowls which we rotate at each meal. They are either washed by hand or go in the dishwasher at night.

The bowls we recommend for both food and water – clear Pyrex glass which allows you to see food particles, and they are very easy to clean. We love that they are dishwasher safe. You do not need to worry about the glass being toxic because Pyrex is made in the US.

Does your cat (or you!) have a chronic infection? Is your cat prone to bladder infection, urinary tract infections, ear infections, and other microbial / bacterial conditions? Biofilm in the water and food bowl could be the cause. By simply washing thoroughly you’ll save money on vet bills and you’ll keep your cat healthy for a long happy life with you.

More reading about biofilm:

A good definition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biofilm

About biofilm and infections: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23635385

Keeping your home biofilm free (as much as possible given that few of us are perfect little housekeepers!)

Biofilm also clings to our walls and items in our homes. Before it sounds like we are paranoid neat-freaks (which we are not, Madam Cat Faerie did not get the Martha Stewart gene) let us say that it’s good to be exposed to a certain amount of dirt and other crud. It’s good for the immunity and microbiome of any species. But we don’t’ want to be living in an environment that compromises anyone’s health.

One area of the house where we all should be concerned about is where the litter boxes are. That’s why we like keeping litter boxes in one area to create a cat-friendly litter box latrine area. The powders and dusts from cat litter can cling to the walls and other surfaces around the litter boxes. It’s important to wash down those walls. How often? If there are unhealthy people and animals in your home: weekly. Otherwise every 2 to 4 weeks will help tremendously.

Hot water and a washable terrycloth rag work wonders! They are free of cost and non-toxic.

Cats and Water (this isn’t what you think)

The theme of this week’s newsletter is all about water. We’ve dug up some information which might be surprising to you. It will certainly be interesting, and it could improve the health of all who dwell in your home.


Newton’s Purrspective – Cats in Formal Attire

Although dogs have been domesticated for 30,000 years cats took much longer to make that leap. (In fact, some researchers consider us “semi-domesticated”. Our genetic divergence from our desert dwelling ancestors is relatively recent. http://www.iflscience.com/plants-and-animals/genome-comparison-shows-how-wildcats-became-housecats) We joined humans a little over 9,000 years ago when agriculture fostered:

  1. a change from the previous nomadic lifestyle and
  2. a concentration of rodents! http://www.livescience.com/7299-house-cats-wild-ancestor.html


Isaac Newton

Domestic felines are genetically close to our wild counterparts (in fact, at my house we are called “fe-lions”). Having evolved in the desert we are meant to get water with our food. Are we getting enough? http://pets.webmd.com/cats/guide/mistakes-people-make-feeding-cats?page=2

Here is a breakdown for water content of food:

  1. mice 70%
  2. canned food 78%
  3. dry food 5-10%

We should always have access to water, but with just a dry diet we need to drink more. How can you be sure Kitty will drink what she needs?

Everyone agrees that food and water should be placed as far as possible from the litter box area. That’s one even humans appreciate, aesthetically as well as to avoid bacterial contamination. However, does it make a difference if food and water are side by side? Some cats do prefer separation. Our wild relatives often capture prey at watering holes and would want clean water some distance from the kill.

Any stagnant water is likely to contain bacteria or other harmful organisms. Kitty’s attraction to running water (and hence, the popularity of cat fountains) may be instinctual.

All water is not created equal. The four basic types are:

  1. municipal tap water
  2. well water
  3. distilled water
  4. spring water

Please keep in mind that any water can be filtered to remove harmful contaminants.

Municipal water may contain chlorine by-products, fluoride, bacteria, arsenic, toxic pesticide residues, heavy metals, and even rocket fuel. (yikes!) http://www.littlebigcat.com/health/water-water-everywhere-but-whats-a-cat-to-drink/ Compared to this, the three others seem like ambrosia. However, depending on your location even well water may have contamination. The only way to know for sure is to have it tested by a reliable laboratory. (This should be a concern for the whole family.)

Does that mean distilled water is the answer? Absolutely not! It is so pure it is tasteless and contains none of the molecules and particles needed for health. Drinking only distilled water can lead to deficiencies in sodium, potassium and vital trace minerals. People who drink distilled water exclusively may suffer from high blood pressure and irregular heartbeats.

The best option, for cats and their people) is spring water, assuming it is from a good quality natural spring. (Some bottled water is known to be simply tap water in a bottle.)

Water is good and necessary for life. However, too much or too little are signs of potential illness requiring veterinary advice. A dehydrated cat will lose skin elasticity (noticeable at the scruff on the back of the neck). Drinking excessive water (is Kitty always at the water bowl?) may be an indication of problems such as kidney disease, hyperthyroidism or diabetes.

How coconut oil will help your cat’s health.

If you are using coconut oil for your health and cooking then you know already know about many of its benefits for people. You’ll be happy to know that your cat will benefit from coconut oil too.

Among the reasons to add ½ to 1 teaspoon to your cat’s food every day:

  • Coconut oil provides the much needed “medium chain fatty acids.”
  • It is 90% saturated fat which is vital for brain health and can stave off dementia and Alzheimer’s
  • Boosts the immune system.
  • Coconut oil is about 40% lauric acid which has been shown to be a preventative of some cancers.
  • Improved digestion, say goodbye to constipation and finding hard cats poops on the floor.
  • Improves thyroid function
  • Antimicrobial
  • Anti bacterial
  • Anti fungal
  • Full of antioxidants
  • Helps prevent the parasite: Giardia
  • Helps the cat absorb more minerals and other nutrients from food.
  • Has been found to fight staph infection better than antibiotics.
  • Immune system boosting.
  • Prevents fur balls
  • Clear up rashes by applying it directly.
  • Heal wounds fast by applying it directly.

Adding coconut oil to cat food:

It’s easy to mix ½ to 1 teaspoon in canned cat food or homemade cat food. Start with a small amount and work up to ½ to 1 teaspoon per day. If you live in a hot climate your coconut oil is probably liquefied so spooning it out is easy. If your climate or house is cool to cold it will be solid – in that case spoon it out, put in a bowl and with your spoon press to soften, then add the food and mix. If you feed crunchies/kibble do your best to mix the two together. Most cats like the taste of coconut oil – we even have a video for you at the end of this newsletter with a cat eating coconut from the shell!

People: improve you oral health and detoxify

The humans at Cat Faeries are big users of coconut oil and in particular we love the Ayurvedic therapy of “oil pulling” or “oil swishing” for our mouths. The oil “pulls” toxins which are spat out after 15 minutes of swishing. Tartar melts away before it can harden which means better gum health and fewer trips to the dentist. It is said that medical conditions such as diabetes improve. Floss first, then swish – we can almost guarantee that a few sneaky food particles hid and will be dislodged by the oil – surprise! Daily swishing means your teeth will be whiter, your gums stronger, and your breath will be fresher. Your mouth will feel sparkling clean for hours after.

Alas, cats can’t swish oil in their mouths, but because you add it to their food they will be happy with improved digestion and to have fur worthy of flaunting! Not to mention your cat is going to feel healthier, younger, and have more bounce to their pounce – the oil will improve their joints!

Here’s one of many articles on coconut oil for swishing.

http://www.saragottfriedmd.com/oil-pulling-whiten-your-teeth-detoxify-your-body-and-prevent-cavities/

Here’s a great article about medium chain fatty acids:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/22/coconut-oil-and-saturated-fats-can-make-you-healthy.aspx