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.
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.
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.
Commercial Christmas tree preservatives which are added to the water in a tree stand can be toxic to a cat or dog who might drink the water. We found a lot of DIY recipes for preservatives but they aren’t much better – you do not want your cat drinking sugar and bleach, or water that has copper pennies in it.
Although it was before my time, some of you humans may remember the $6 Million Dollar Man (Steve Austin) and the Bionic Woman (Jaime Sommers) on TV. Both these characters had serious injuries and science turned them into super heroes. In the real world, however, people who lose arms or legs may get prosthetics which, at most, restore their independence. Until recently cats have not been so lucky. If we lose one leg in an accident we can still get by quite well with three. The loss of two legs is much more challenging, but some cats do adapt to wheelchairs. http://www.lifewithcats.tv/tag/wheeled-cart/
Cats have a terrific sense of balance so kittens born without front or even back legs can adapt to the disability. But could their lives be improved by prosthetic limbs?
Learning to use a prosthetic is not easy for a person, so imagine trying to explain to Kitty why you are strapping on a set of mechanical legs. When Oscar the cat lost both back feet in a 2009 farming accident his family feared there was no hope for him. Fortunately, a vet in England was willing to try a pioneering surgery. Oscar became famous as the first animal in the world to receive surgically implanted prosthetic feet. Titanium rods were inserted into his bones and are kept in place by the tissue growing around them. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NqUEraHGHvI The feet can be detached (they wear out since he is very active) and over the years have been modified to achieve more natural mobility. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUhOKRKksCU
The procedure is still uncommon, partially due to the cost. However, the success with animals is paving the way for US approval of bone anchored prosthetics for humans.
And this brings me back to the TV science fiction bionics. Did you know there was a bionic dog on the show? His experimental bionic surgery was the basis for using the techniques on Steve and Jaime! When Max becomes ill Jaime saves his life and adopts him. I love happy endings, don’t you?
It was the final hot summer before the shelter in Florida closed. The adoption area was filled with adult cats and the unavailable kittens were in a separate building not open to the public. The one room building also housed the washers and dryers for the entire shelter. As you might imagine, the A/C couldn’t keep up. Two walls of cages were full. The remaining kittens lived in plastic carriers stacked on top of each other. Most of them just had numbers on their tags. They didn’t get names until they were moved to the adoption area. But one crate near the washers held a black and white kitten with a name – “Weety”. He was an owner surrender and had probably been named by a child in the family. Whenever I went to do laundry I looked for him and said “Hi Weety”.
Weety and me summer 2008
One day I went to check laundry and Weety was gone! There was only one possible reason. He was sick and had been transferred to the hospital area. The Green Room (named for the color of the walls) was even smaller than the holding area. Most kittens who were sent there had upper respiratory infections. They were treated with antibiotics and, if they survived, sent back to the holding area.
When I found him he was so dehydrated he didn’t have enough moisture in his body to sneeze. Luckily, the surgery/clinic area was closed that week. Normally sick animals were not allowed there. I gave him SQ fluids, canned food and a towel lined bed made from a plastic hospital basin. He was SO HAPPY to be in a clean, comfortable place. I’ve never seen a sick cat react with such intense affection. At the end of the week I took him home to finish antibiotics and make sure he didn’t have a relapse. Of course, by then I was totally in love so I formally adopted him.
Later that summer I had a respiratory infection myself. Whenever I was lying down Weety would sit on my chest and purr. (He still does this whenever I am sick.) I don’t think there is any more relaxing sound than a cat purr. But, it is a misconception that cats purr only when they are happy. They also purr when stressed (e.g. visiting the vet) and when they are sick. This is not surprising since the 26 Hertz range of a cat purr promotes tissue regeneration. It may even heal and strengthen bones.
Weety is very sensitive and always seems to know when I need some healing kitty energy. I like to think he is returning my earlier kindness to him.
He was my final rescue from Florida and has remained my designated Healing Kitty. He also does a great Cheshire Cat impression. =^..^=
I recently read an article by Charles Snowden, a professor of clinical psychology at UW Madison, and the lead author on a new study of the effect of music on cats. He took his music and his team to homes with cats to test their reactions to the ranges, tempos and sounds. Then he played classical music, and found the felines responded more favorably to his specialized cat music.
Snowden seemed to suggest in his article that it’s “us” humans who pick out the music for our pets and assume they are going to like it. He states most studies don’t offer any concrete evidence as to what the effects of music are on animals and hopes to close the gap with more facts through his research.
I am a professional singer, songwriter and performer for over forty years – and I love animals! I have also done a study on the effect of music on cats – at a local animal shelter. I composed music of different instruments, ranges, tempos and sounds. I played my music in the cat room where 15 to 20 cats awaited adoption. (These were abandoned, or abused cats.) I also played classical and country music to see if there was a difference in the response from the cats. The study went on almost daily over a three year period and I found the felines responded more positively toward the music I composed. They actually gathered near the speaker!
I agree with professor Snowden that more research on the effects of music on animals needs to be done. I also know this…music has profound effects on the brain which in turn affects mood and behavior. We humans place a lot of our own emotions onto our beloved pets, which is why we think they’ll love a certain kind of music when we leave the house. That’s understandable. Mood Music for Cats (and Cat Lovers) isn’t “clinical” research music, however it offers specific benefits for calming and relaxing through ranges of tones and instruments that are pleasing to the ear for both humans and felines. Sure, I use catchy song titles such as “Tuna Sonata” or “Catatonia” because I like to keep things light and fun! But the music has been tried and true and cats seem to love it!
I recently adopted a shelter cat who had been mistreated. My new cat had been hiding in the closet, terrified of her new surroundings. The closet is in the same room that my computer is in. I found your website and I found A Ball of Twine, and saw that I could press a key to listen to a sample. I kept hitting the key and playing the sample over and over. After a few minutes my new cat ventured out of the closet ready to explore her new home! Thank you!
At one time I would put the carrier either on the front seat of the Cat Faerie Mobile (a 2006 Prius) or the back seat and thread the seat belt through the handle of the carrier and lock it thinking that if I was in an accident the cat in the carrier would be perfectly safe. I assumed that it would not jerk or fly, that it would stay in place. It seemed so logical! But was I ever wrong! In these videos and photos you’ll see what happens to the seat belt at the moment of impact! It is shocking.
One video is in German but you don’t need to understand it to see what happens in crash tests, the visuals say it all. The other is in English. Both also cover transporting dogs safely.
As you will learn the best way to transport your cat is in a carrier placed on the floor of the back seat wedged between the back seat and front seat. This video is suitable for people of all ages, there isn’t anything scary or tragic, it’s 100% crash tests with dummies and mannequins.
You can see the individual test videos for the carriers, crates, and harnesses from the above tests here.