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.

 
 
 

Cat Video: Clever Commercial About Cats and Second Hand Smoke

This could be the best cat video ever because it’s ultra-creative and has a very powerful message. It’s hard to believe that people still smoke cigarettes. Stinky poo! And it’s hurting cats! If you smoke around your cats please stop – save the money you spend for cat toys and supporting cat shelters! Cats everywhere will thank you!

Over two million views!

 
 

Scented kitty litter: Possible cause of litter box avoidance, obesity, and feline diabetes.

If you use scented cat litter do you notice that your cat is in and out of the box with lightening speed, often not sticking around long enough to bury?

Cats hate artificial smells in litter especially if the litter box has a hood which holds in all smells creating a hostile peeing/pooping environment! We know from our customers that many of their cats refuse to use scented litters and will do their business outside of the box. Naughty Kitty? Or is your cat telling you something? Perhaps something like this: “Fake fragrance stinks, it’s not a bed of roses and it’s not good for my health or yours!” Smart Kitty!

Since we began Cat Faeries in 1993 we have been on a crusade to not only better the lives of cats, but for all, and that includes our crusade against toxic “parfum” and “fragrance.” Artificial fragrance is not a single ingredient, rather it’s a brew of often hundreds of chemicals, the names of which are not required by law to be listed by the manufacturer. Many of the man-made chemicals used in fragrance or perfume are known carcinogens.

Most perfumes hawked by celebrities and cosmetic companies do not contain any real flower aromas and probably have not since the 1920’s, when chemists figured out how to mimic the scent of flowers synthetically. Your brain is tricked into thinking these chemicals smell pretty. Or if you are like a growing number of people who are so chemical intolerant that rather than smell a pretty scent they, like me, only smell the chemicals. Your cat also smells just the chemicals.

Do perfumes give you a headache? Make your lips and tongue swell? Leave a bad taste in your mouth that takes hours to go away? Burn your eyes or make eyes water? Do you experience brain fog? Does perfume make you cough? Trigger asthma? Does your cat have a persistent cough or asthma? Does your cat sneeze after a trip to the litter box? Does your cat steer clear of scented candles and plug-ins that give off fragrance? If your cat has breathing difficulties it’s very possible that the root cause is at least partly from fragrance.

Some of the diseases or conditions linked to fragrance:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Autism in humans
  • Hormone disruption
  • Obesity
  • Brain fog
  • Respiratory difficulty
  • Asthma
  • And it’s downright dictatorial – why should anyone be subjected to inhaling and smelling something they didn’t ask for or that they don’t like?

“Stink! The Movie!”

Video on Demand beginning today, February 16, 2016

When former virtual reality techie turned filmmaker Jon J. Whelan brought home new pajamas for his kids and noticed they smelled weird he began to investigate what the smell was and why it was there. You might say that when he asked questions he smelled a rat! His digging and frustration lead to “Stink! The Movie,” his award winning expose’ about fragrance and the complex insidiously scented rabbit hole chemical companies created. And that the government allows us to be exposed to.

Watch the trailer here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICN52Uzoo0I

This will take you to the director’s blog for some really good articles.

https://stinkmovie.com/news/

This will take you to his Facebook page:

https://www.facebook.com/StinkMovie/

Perfume – The New Second Hand Smoke

About 20 years ago we began hearing people say that fragrance is the new second hand smoke and that like cigarettes perfume should be banned in all work places and public places. This may seem extreme, but it really isn’t when you become aware of how it affects you, your cat, and other people. Here blogger Danny Seo discusses this topic.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/danny-seo/is-perfume-the-new-second_b_503114.html

Can I find a safe or natural perfume?

Sure, if you look hard enough you can find natural perfumers. You can go to France and buy perfumes that might be closer to nature. But even these scents can cause illness or other reactions to other people (and your cats, they just can’t tell you). It’s hard for anyone to know just how “natural” is natural. Remember when great great grandma put a drop of vanilla extract behind her ears? Not a bad idea! Smelling like a cookie is far better than smelling like chemicals!

What is Cat Faeries favorite kitty litter?

We currently use OKO Cat clumping wood based cat litter. Our 4 cats love it. We love it because it does not have toxic chemical smell, and it holds in the smells of cat urine quite nicely. It’s easy to scoop too.

Your local independent cat supply shop can order it for you. Read about it here: https://www.healthy-pet.com/okocat

 
 

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.

 
 

Cat and Dog-Safe Ways to Keep Your Christmas Tree Fresh

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.

Penn State College of Agriculture has this to say about keeping your Christmas tree fresh – they tell us what works and what doesn’t.
http://ento.psu.edu/extension/christmas-trees/cultural-information/caring-for-your-cut-christmas-tree

 
 

Cats Go Bionic with Prosthetics

Newton’s Purrspective – Bionic Cats

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?

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/pets/11635624/How-an-adorable-bunny-cat-with-only-two-legs-became-an-Instagram-celebrity.html

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GZw3nugUJU


Isaac Newton

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

More recently a similar surgery was done on a cat in Iowa. Vincent, who was likely born without complete hind legs, was rescued by a shelter worker. Staff at Iowa State University Veterinary Hospital did implant surgery similar to Oscar’s. http://amestrib.com/news/cat-walking-prosthetic-legs-after-isu-veterinary-hospital-treatment Despite the risk of infection inherent in the surgery his prognosis is good.

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?