Tagged with " nutrition"

Golden Years Cats: Making Their Lives Long, Happy and Healthy!

Jun 12, 2012 by     No Comments    Posted under: Tips & Advice

Time slips by more quickly for our pets than for us. One day we realize that our favorite cute kitty is now a senior citizen. What can we do to help them “live long and prosper”?

Just like for people, nutrition, exercise, medical care, social interactions and environmental modifications improve and optimize our senior cats lives.

Nutrition: many elderly cats have metabolic diseases such as kidney disease or diabetes and do best on a prescription diet targeted toward controlling these diseases. Arthritis is common in older cats and a food high in anti-inflammatory fatty acids such as Hill’s J/D reduces pain and improves mobility. Canned foods increase water consumption and can help prevent constipation and are often more palatable for finicky elderly cats tastes. Increasing the variety of canned foods and warming the food a little can also tempt the appetite of debilitated senior cats. When constipation is significant, adding ¼ tsp. of Miralax over the counter stool softener can help (consult your veterinarian first before starting the Miralax).

Exercise and environmental modifications: the less elderly cats move, the harder it can be for them to maintain their muscle mass and flexibility. Encourage your cat to play using laser pointers, fishing pole type toys, and other interactive toys. Put step stools or chairs out next to beds and windows to help them jump up and down to favorite places. Make sure litter boxes and food and water bowls are easily accessible. Litter boxes should be low enough that the kitty can get in and out of easily. Try to avoid covered litter boxes, as they can be awkward for arthritic kitties to use without bumping their heads. Heated cat beds can soothe aching joints, and make winter temperatures or an air-conditioned home more comfortable for senior cats.

Medical Care: since elderly cats develop many of the same aging health problems that we have, we can greatly improve both the quality and length of their lives with good medical care. It would be nice if our cats could talk to us and tell us how they feel. They can’t. Our senior cats need to be examined and have lab tests taken every 6 months. Given their rapid aging, this is equivalent to every 3-4 years for a human! Many health problems can be prevented, cured, or managed effectively with early intervention. Your cat cannot tell you it is painful, has kidney or dental disease, or arthritis. Your veterinarian can detect those problems and help.

Social interactions: your senior cat may not seek out attention as much as younger cags in the household. They may be marginalized by the other cats in the household and do not have the energy to fight for attention Try to spend 10 minutes twice a day giving extra attention to your senior cat. You will both enjoy it, and it will make the quality of both your lives better!

Dr Tammy Sadek

Dr Tammy Sadek is board certified in Feline Practice by the American Board of Veterinary Practitioners. Dr Sadek graduated at the top of her veterinary class at the University Of Minnesota College Of Veterinary Medicine. She has practiced feline medicine and surgery for over 25 years. Dr Sadek is the owner and founder of two cat hospitals in the Grand Rapids, MI area, the Kentwood Cat Clinic and the Cat Clinic North.

In addition to her cat hospitals, Dr Sadek hosts a website www.litterboxguru.com dedicated to helping cat owners prevent and correct litter box issues along with other behavioral issues with their pets.

Dr Sadek is the author of several chapters in the book Feline Internal Medicine Secrets. Her professional interests include senior cat care, internal medicine, feline behavior, and dermatology.

Dr Sadek is currently owned by 5 cats. In addition to caring for all her feline friends, Dr Sadek enjoys traveling, jewelry making, reading fantasy and science fiction, and gardening. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two soon to fledge children.

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From Fat to Fit – Get Your Cat’s Sexy Back!

Jul 15, 2011 by     1 Comment     Posted under: Tips & Advice

Franklin was an adorable kitten when he came into my office for his first checkup. Before long, though, his obsession with food had resulted in a young cat who weighed nearly two times what he should. Franklin’s owners knew there was a problem and switched from leaving regular food out all day to a diet food and cutting back on portions. Problem was that Franklin was very unhappy with this new state of affairs, and his constant meowing and begging for food was disrupting the household.

When I next saw Franklin, this two year old, gorgeous black and white cat could barely jump and weighed in at 22 pounds, which was a far cry from his ideal weight of 10 pounds. His owners were desperate. They were literally feeding him a quarter of a cup of diet dry food a day, and he was ravenously hungry and both cat and family were miserable and looking for help. Franklin was gobbling up his food and anything else that came his way—bread, iceberg lettuce, potato chips and Oreo cookies all went down the hatch. He was dangerously overweight but felt like he was starving!

And Franklin is by no means a rarity. Statistics show that nearly 75% of all cats in the United States are overweight, and a sizeable chunk of those cats are obese. This dramatically impacts their health and overall wellness, and just like with people, the extra pounds can contribute to blood sugar problems, lack of mobility and heart disease.

Most of us grew up hearing that cats need dry food for their teeth and that canned food is a “junk food” with little nutritional value. But reality is very different. Cats are what are called obligatory carnivores, which means they need to eat meat to survive. Dry foods are loaded with carbohydrates, which is how they achieve that dry cereal consistency. Dogs have digestive systems that process carbohydrates quite efficiently, and like so many things in pet care, dogs came first to the table. Cat foods originated as spin offs from dog foods, and even though cat physiology is very different than that of the dog, dry cat foods quickly caught on and became the accepted cat food choice.

Fast forward to 2007. Nutritional studies that focused strictly on the cat identified one key reason for cat obesity. Because cats are pure carnivores, they have difficulty digesting carbohydrates, which has led researchers to speculate that the extra carbs may enhance fat accumulation and drive blood sugar levels up. Canned cat food is cereal-free, so all those carbohydrates get bypassed. Another advantage of canned food is that it is much lighter in calories than an equivalent amount of dry food.

One other piece of the puzzle that researchers looked at was what makes a cat feel full. Protein levels in food seems to affect satiety, so the higher amounts of protein in canned food leave cats feeling content and not deprived. The actual volume of food in the stomach also factors in, so this is why tiny amounts of dry food, which tend to have much less protein density than canned food, will not help your cat feel full.

So we converted Franklin into a canned food junkie, and gave him lots of it—two tuna fish sized cans each day. Because you can never have your cake and eat it too when dieting, we eased him entirely off his dry food. He is down to 11 pounds and counting, and he has become as active as he should be. And most importantly, he is happy and doesn’t have a clue that he is eating fewer calories!

Dr Cathy Lund

Cathy Lund, DVM, owns and operates City Kitty Veterinary Care for Cats, a cat practice located in Providence, RI. She is also the board president and founder of the Companion Animal Foundation, a statewide, veterinary-based nonprofit organization that helps low-income pet owners afford essential veterinary care. She lives in Providence, and serves on several architectural and preservation commissions in the city, and is on the board of directors of WRNI, RI’s own NPR station. But her favorite activity is to promote the countless virtues of the “purr-fect” pet, the cat!

City Kitty
18 Imperial Pl # 1B
Providence, RI 02903-4642

Phone: (401) 831-6369
Email: email@city-kitty.com

Website: http://www.city-kitty.com/
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