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.
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 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