Feeding your cat as the carnivore they should be

Yesterday morning I watched as my 1 year-old cat puked up a log in a way I’ve seen my older cat do on a regular  basis.  I always thought the older cat, Cookie, just did that “because.”  When I saw it from the baby I knew there had to be more to this.

Our home “feline” profile

We have four cats; each unique in their own way.

  • There is Cookie, the vocal, attention demanding black long-hair.  She is probably close to 10 years old and projectile vomits at least three times a week without discriminating as to where, including our bed.
  • There is Helen, the pure white, blue-eyed cat my kids call the devil.  She is probably a little younger than Cookie.  We adopted her from the SPCA about five years ago.  She’s a refined huntress with an incredible sense of bravado and fight. She will nip your toes to let you know she’s done being inside and ready to be let out.  Helen will eat ANYTHING and everything.  She suffers from skin issues on her nose and the tips of her ears.  The vet believes it’s sunburn from her coloring, and all biopsies have come back negative for cancer.  She also has a perpetual drainage from one of her eyes.  I believe these are manifestations from allergies.
  • There is Charlie, a 10-something year-old rescue we adopted three years ago from a local cat rescue organization and discovered quickly he was incurable sprayer.  Short of putting him down due to this issue, we’ve relegated him to be 100% outdoors.  He is such a lovable, wonderful cat, but his history precludes him being an indoor cat.  He also has intestinal issues and often has to visit the vet to have his anal glands cleared.  He has diarrhea, a recurring UTI and is currently plagued with ear issues which cause him to fall over when he shakes his head.  He’s on his second round of antibiotics to see if it’s middle-ear related before moving on to blood work to see if it’s something else.
  • Then there is Mia.  We adopted her from the SPCA last year as a 3-month old kitten.  She had been with a feral colony prior to arriving at the SPCA.  We have coddled and kept her close to us so she would learn to be an indoor cat.  We’re succeeding

Prior to adopting Charlie we had a 17 year-old family cat who got diabetes and for three years we administered insulin, veterinary-prescribed food, and struggled to the end when he was put down.

All of my cats are fed Purina One dry cat food “at will.”  Leaving a bowl outside for Charlie has attracted many a raccoon and neighborhood cat to our front porch, which is not a good scenario.

Yesterday I learned how to feed them to *thrive* not just survive

A search for cat vomiting yielded this website: http://catinfo.org/?link=makingcatfood by Lisa A. Pierson, DVM., a graduate of the University of California, Davis School of Veterinary Medicine.

This philosophies shared on this site speak to me.  You see, I eat naturally and respect the relationship between food and health.  I’m not sure why I’ve never related this to my cats.  I guess I just never knew how bad dry cat food was until I stumbled upon Dr. Pierson’s site and then continued researching the topic.

To summarize the information she shares:

  1. They’re meat-eaters
    • Cats are carnivores.  In the wild they eat raw met and bones of their prey.
    • Cats in the wild do not eat carbohydrates or plant-based proteins like we see in commercially-prepared foods — grains and vegetables are for humans, not cats.
    • Cats need a diet with a balanced ratio of meat (phosphorus) and bones (calcium), and less than 10% carbohydrates.
  2. They expect water from their diet
    1. Cats inherently have a low thirst drive and need to consume their water “with” their food.  A cat’s normal prey is 70% water.
    2. A healthy urinary tract system requires flowing water.
  3. Dry Cat Food
    1. Is devoid of water.
    2. Wreaks havoc on insulin/blood sugar because of the carb load.
    3. Is synthetically supplemented with plant-based proteins.
    4. Is cost-effective to the producers by using “by products” rather than muscle meats (chicken, turkey, beef, rabbit)
    5. It’s processing removes the beneficial moisture and alters the biological value of the protein sources, as well as damaging vital nutrients.
    6. Is not refrigerated and sits in warm warehouses, on pet store shelves, and in your cupboards for weeks or months before being consumed, leading to bacterial growth and rancid fats.
    7. Is a prime source of contamination and illness.  Just look at how many pet food recalls we’ve had recently.
    8. Any canned cat food, regardless of price, is better than dry cat food for your cat’s overall health.  If you do nothing else, GET THE DRY CAT FOOD OUT OF THEIR DIET.  Buy any kind of canned food instead.
  4. Justifying the effort
    • All cats appear “fine” until they demonstrate outward signs of disease from poor commercially-prepared diets.  Diseases are brewing long before outward signs.  Common results:
      • Obesity
      • Diabetes
      • Blocked urinary tracts
      • Cystitis
      • Food intolerance (IBD)
      • Kidney/bladder stones
      • Cancer
    • The time you spend feeding your cats a species appropriate diet will pay off in time and money spent dealing with an illness.  I know the heart, soul, and $ I put into taking care of a diabetic cat for three years.  If this makes them healthier and happier, I’m in.

Today is the first day on a species-appropriate diet for my cats

Last night I visited our local gourmet pet supply store (Redbridge Pet Supply Market) and picked up canned food with zero carbohydrates to help us in the transition from dry food.

Today we went shopping for chicken thighs and drumsticks with bone-in and skin on, chicken livers, and the required supplements and made our first batch of home-made food.  It was a lot easier than I thought.

Here’s our first batch: