For years, pet markets shelves were filled with so many dry food options for cats, claiming to have all these different benefits and nutritional values. And to many cats companions, this was the best choice… I mean, Why not! Right!
It has all these nutritional values they claim, it’s easy to feed your cat, it’s a less mess and fuss than having to prepare their meals, it doesn’t go bad as quickly… It’s the obvious choice.
So, In order to help you guys out, I went through so many veterinarian resources, talked to a couple of my trusted vets and this is what I got.
I don’t want to get you into a lot of scientific complications, so I will do my best to explain this as simple as possible.
First things first; What should a cat’s diet consist of?
Cats are carnivores, originated from the desert. They are hunters who need meat and moist to survive.
As you may already know, a cat’s diet should consist of; a HIGH protein and a High moisture diet, moderate level of fats, and only about 1-2% Carbohydrates.
That being said, you should also know that commercial dry food mostly consists of Carbohydrates and some other ingredients that you do NOT want most of them inside your felines.
So, Why exactly is Dry food bad for cats?
Dry food is basically “Junk Food” for cats and dogs. So saying dry food is good for your pets, is just like saying Hot-dogs and a Happy Meal, will make your kids grow healthier.
Are they delicious, yes they are… Does they destroy your health? Unfortunately they do…
Dry food has a direct relationship with the causes of sooo many harmful diseases for cats. On top of these diseases, is one of the most common, and deadly causes, which is; “Urethral obstructions”.
Inflamed bladder (Cystitis/FIC), may lead to “Urethral obstructions”. Which simply means that your cat’s urinary bladder is blocked, and they can’t “pee”. Which can be life-threatening and may cause death in 3 – 6 days. Specially in male cats.
If you notice your cat goes to the litter box in attempt to go, but he/she is having trouble doing it. You shouldn’t wait for more than 12 hrs. (Max.) before taking him/her to the vet.
Dry food is the leading cause of obesity in pets. And just like us as humans, obesity leads to many serious diseases. Including; Diabetes, Vomiting, Chronic Diarrhea, High blood pressure, Skin and Coat problems, Liver Failure, Heart diseases, Allergies, Kidney disease, and sadly so much more…
3. Food Allergies and Toxins:
As mentioned earlier, this type of food has a very small percentage of proteins. These small percentages are subjected to a lot of changes through the process of making this type of food, that it changes to; “abnormal proteins”. Then, cats immune system react to these unfamiliar shapes causing Food Allergies.
Moreover, given the types of things manufacturers put in pet food, such as; diseased and dead animals, and other toxic ingredients, with the goal of paying less and making the most profit out of it.
These ingredients are often contaminated with a wide variety of toxic substances. And even though, some of these toxins get destroyed during the process, yet some of them don’t, and then we pay all this money just to harm our beloved pets.
Cats wild ancestors originated from the deserts. Meaning that, most of them already have a low thirst drive, and their bodies are designed to extract all the moisture they can get from what they eat. i.e. They don’t drink until they are about 3% dehydrated. Which is a very serious dehydration level.
So if a cat who has a low thirst drive, doesn’t drink enough water, and eats a lot of dry food with no moisture in it, this causes him/her to suffer serious dehydration, which contributes in many serious health issues including; “Urinary crystals, kidney stones, bladder infections, kidney diseases, and FLUTD (Feline lower urinary tract disease)”.
Just as most manufacturers do, to make sure their products have a long shelf-time. They throw in a bunch of preservatives in our food, and in our pets food as well.
I don’t need to tell you how harmful these preservatives are, because I’m sure you already know that the world is full of cancer and other killer diseases because of them.
Potential Cancer-causing agents such as BHA, BHT, and Ethoxyquin are permitted at relatively low levels in pet and some human foods. And even though some of these chemicals have not been thoroughly studied on pets yet, they are commonly used.
Myth: Some people think that dry food help clean your cats teeth, well this is a BIG FAT Myth. Kinda similar to you saying that crispy fries help clean our teeth.. Hmmm!
How much is okay?
Personally, after learning about this, and after having to see one of my senior female cats passing away after suffering from “Urethral Obstructions” a couple of years ago, which is a very hard thing to go through by the way. I honestly believe, that we should never feed this Junk to our beloved pets at all, or at least as much as we possibly can.
To quote exactly what one of the vets told me, he said:
“Male cats, should NEVER be given dry food as they are more prone to suffer from “Urethral obstructions” than females.
As for Females: If they must, they may have some dry food, but as little as possible till the age of 7 years old, after that they are considered seniors, and they should be completely cut off”.
The Best of the Worst… How to choose dry food?
As mentioned earlier, we should try to feed kibbles to our cats as less as we possibly can. However, sometimes we’re put in certain situations were dry food is our only option like if you have to leave your cat alone for the whole day, or if you’re still in the process of changing up your cat’s diet, or any other scenario… So, here are a few things to looks for when choosing your cats’ dry food.
Avoid Colored dry food.
Look at the expiry date.
Make sure it’s age appropriate for your cat.
Look at the Ingredients.
Check for meat based protein.
Finally, If your cat if already addicted to dry food, and refuses to change-up his or her diet, next week I will publish an article how you can safely and slowly switch their diet.
Hope you found that useful.. I’ll See you next time ✌️
Let’s face it, none of us could resist these sweet fuzzy little kittens, stumbling around with their sweet voices, furry little butts, those eyes when they open for the first time…
The curiosity, and even the hissing is just adorable. But what happens when we take away those little furry bubbles from their mother a little too early?
So often, Non-responsible breeders who are just looking to get the best, fastest benefits out of their animals, urge people and start selling baby kittens at about 40 days old. And even though, according to vets, a 40 days old kitten could survive on its own. However, there’s a huge difference between merely “surviving”, and taking time to develop properly to get the most benefits, they are intended to get from their mama.
Regardless of some unfortunate situations when a New Mama cat abandons her newborns, or passes away leaving her kittens on their own, kittens should be left to their mother, until she naturally starts rejecting them.
Leave it to instinct… Mama Cat Knows Best
Kittens can acquire a lot of negative behaviors because of this early separation, as well as health deficiencies. A mother cat wean her babies naturally when kittens are about 2-3 months old, by starting to reject her kittens.
So what happens when you separate the kittens too early?
I. Health Problems:
Nothing in the world replaces a mother’s milk… Not even baby kitten formulas.
A mother’s milk help baby kittens grow into strong, healthy cats, as much as a mother’s milk does to human babies.
So kittens separated early from their mama, may become weak, and easily prone to illness, as their body lacks natural antibiotics that they naturally get from their mother’s milk.
II. Behavioral problems:
1. Fearful play..anxiety and panic attacks!
kittens can learn to get their sense of security from their human companions. But before that, they get their safety and calmness from their mother. So, early separated cats are more likely to be more fearful, until properly socialized.
2. Biting and rough play
If you find your kitten biting on your hand “playfully” a little too hard that it drowse blood, there’s a good chance that she was taken away a little early before learning those skills.
Kittens, and all baby animals actually, learn how to give us soft bites and pull their claws in from their mother and siblings through play time. Playtime teaches kittens how far to go, and where to back down while playing, so they learn to use their tools right.
However, behavioral issues could be treated with the right training and patience.
3. Litter box problems.
At that early age, kittens learn everything by copying their mother. a well litter-trained mama cat, is more likely to give us well litter-trained kittens. So its easier to train them when they come home.
That being said, if your cat or kitten is not using the litter-box properly, that does not mean she must have been separated early.
Cats litter training is a profound topic, so I will try to go through every aspect to help you guys as much as possible.
Earlier in another post; 10 Things you need, before bringing your new cat home, I talked about the 10 basic supplies you will need before your new friend comes home, where i discussed everything you need to know about litter boxes and cats preferences, and some mistakes most people do that may cause cats to stop using the litter box.
If you haven’t already read this article, I suggest you go check it before going any further.
First things first:
If you’re re-training a cat that has already been litter-box trained, yet all of a sudden she just stopped using the litter box. The first thing you should do is; take her to the vet. Because many times, cats stop using the litter box because they’re hormonal, or because something hurts, but she doesn’t know how to show it.
So now you went to the vet and everything is fine, but the cat’s still not using the litter box. OR maybe you just got a new one, and you wanna train him to use the litter box properly.
Understanding your cat:
In order to shape a cat’s behavior, we need to dig a little bit deeper into her brain, to understand how cats see and comprehend things.
1. What does the litter-box represent to your cat?
Cats are naturally territorial, and when they go potty, it’s more than just a mere digestion process.
Cats need to mark their territory, to prove their dominance and ownership in their home, especially male cats.
Outdoor or wild cats, would be digging and peeing all around their territory. And So, a litter box should be serving the same purpose for our indoor cats, so that they keep coming back to the same spot, instead of doing it in all the wrong places.
However, cats should start using the litter box instinctively at only a few weeks old.
2. Difference between spraying and Indiscriminate Urination:
Spraying – If your cat is spraying , he’s not missing, but he’s simply trying to communicate either to you or to other cats. This occurs specially with highly territorial cats. However, spraying is harder to work with, than Indiscriminate Urination. Indiscriminate Urination – is when a cat mistakenly goes outside the litter box, due to medical reasons, or because they are discomforted by the litter box presented.
3. Never punish your cat:
Contrary to many beliefs, cats never response to punishment. They simply don’t get it. If a cat pees on your favorite carpet, and you yell at him, or put his nose in it, splash him with a water bottle or use any other method, I promise you, your cat has no idea why you’re doing it…
The only thing that actually does is; teach your cat to be scared of you, but once you’re out of sight, he’ll be peeing under the couch, or behind something in some corner where he thinks you can’t see him.
Even worse, your cat may assassinate the litter box with negative experience and refuse to go back to the litter-box anymore.
How to properly litter box train your cat or kitten?
So what should you do if your cat or kitten “goes” outside the litter box?
Take the poop, place it in the litter box, then gently carry your cat and place him/her inside the litter-box. Then clean out the spot where she did it with a water and vinegar.
This step is very important, because cats’ poop may leave a stain or a scent that we talked about earlier, that cannot be seen or smelled by humans. Normal detergents don’t get this residue out, that’s why you need to use vinegar, then finish with your normal detergent if you wish.
Personally, I like to keep a spray bottle of half and half of water and vinegar for such accidents,plus its good for other cleansing uses too. Vinegar is a natural deodorizer, mild disinfectant and germicide. It leaves no residue, so you don’t have to rinse the stain again after cleaning with it. Plus, it’s a natural ingredient, so it’s not harmful on your pets.
First thing you should do, once your cat comes home:
Have a litter-box prepared in a room, with a bowl of fresh food and water on the other side as well. Open the carrier, and let him/her explore. If the cat doesn’t check the litter-box on her own, gently carry her and place her inside the litter-box and scratch around to get her attention.
Develop a feeding time schedule for your cat:
Don’t give your cat free feeding… This step is important for so many reasons that we will discuss in further articles. However, regarding our current issue, it is as simple as that;
Developing a feeding time schedule for your cat will automatically help you predict when your cat is going to go potty. And so, you can help him/her out by placing her inside the litter-box, or placing her in a room where the litter-box is for a little while, until she does it.
Praise your cat, Let him know he did good:
Whenever your cat is in the litter box, praise him, either by words, giving him a scratch or his favorite treat. By time, this will create a positive mental connection. Meaning that, the cat would remember having a positive experience every time he goes to the litter-box, so he’s gonna continue going there.
Clean up the litter-box Regularly, but…:
Just like us, cats are very hygienic by nature, and if they keep coming back to a dirty litter-box, they will get sick of it, and may stop using the litter box.
However, when your cat is still in the process of learning to use the litter box, leave a small piece behind, so that the scent would remind her that this is the right place to go.
Hope you found that useful.. I’ll See you next time ✌️
Expecting Your New Cat or Kitten Home Soon? Here’s a list of the 10 basic supplies you will need, before your new friend comes home:
Bringing home a new cat/kitten is a very exciting time for you. However, it’s a very scary and stressful time for your cat. Separation from their mom or their previous owner and moving to a new home could be overwhelming, specially with older cats. So you need to be prepare beforehand, to make this transition easier for you and your cat, and to make sure your new friend is happy and comfortable. Most cats take about a week or two, to adapt to their new home.
1. Cat-Proof your home:
Some plants are toxic to cats, so make sure you do your Research and remove any toxic plants from your home.
Replace breakable objects from places that can be reachable to your cat.
Unplug Electrical wires that are not being used.
Close your windows,
New Cats (specially older ones) can be very stressed at the beginning and may try to hide away. If they run too fast with an open window… Accidents may happen.
2. Cat Carrier
You need a cat carrier to keep your cat safe on the way home. As well as vet visits, travelling and all that good stuff.
3. Food, water and serving bowls.
Ask about your cat’s current diet;
It’s very important to ask the previous owner what they feed your cat? And what is her food preferences? Because a sudden change in diet could upset her stomach. However, if you want to work on changing her diet; go slowly, and make small changes daily so she could get used to it.
Food and water bowls;
Avoid plastic bowls – Although plastic bowls may seem like a practical solution, some cats are allergic to plastic and develop a skin condition on their skin (acne-like). And you know what, even if your cat is not allergic, it’s just unhealthy to feed them in plastic… Just like its unhealthy for us.
The safest materials as recommended by veterinarians are: Stainless-steel and ceramic. However, let’s face it, stainless-steel is more practical since it’s sturdy, and well… it wont break.
Keep it clean;
don’t feed your cat in a dirty bowl or plate. Germs will accumulate and besides, cats don’t like eating or drinking in dirty dishes.
Cats don’t appreciate sharing with other cats – If you have more than 1 cat in your household, make sure each gets their own food and water bowls, to maintain a good relationship between your cats.
4. Litter box, Litter and Litter scoop
Cat Litter There are so many different types of litter in the market; Non-clumping clay, Silica gel crystals, Recycled paper, and so many others. Mostly, your choice will depend on you and your cat’s personal preference.
However, there are three main points to consider;
Most cats prefer unscented litter, specially if they are highly territorial.
If you get an older cat, it is advisable to use the same type of litter your cat was used to in his or her previous home, to make the transition phase easier on him/her.
If you already have a cat, and you changed the type of litter you were using before, and suddenly your cat started doing it outside the litter-box, there is a good chance that this could be one of the reasons.
Number of litter boxes;
The general rule for litter boxes is; the number of litter boxes should be double the number of cats, and they should be placed in different locations around the house. 1 cat = 2 litter boxes
Avoid Automatic, self-cleaning litter boxes; Even though, these boxes may seem really appealing and high-tech. And lets face it, you don’t have to deal with your cat’s poop as much. However, I cannot stress enough how many cats have created bad litter box habits because of these electronic stuff. And here are the reasons why;
Basically these types of litter boxes are designed to swipe away the dirt once your cat is done; the cat goes in the box, she does her business, a few minutes later the machine will detect the clumpy stuff and start getting rid of it.
Now the problem occurs sometimes when, the litter box would start cleaning while the cat is still inside the box, the cat gets hurt or scared. So the next time he goes to do his business, he doesn’t want to go back to that place were he was discomforted, specially if you have a nervous cat, so he goes outside the box and refuses to use the litter-box anymore. That is why many cat behaviorists would recommend using the traditional litter box, to avoid accidents.
Moreover, cats litter shows a lot about their health, so as a responsible guardian, you need to check it regularly to make sure everything is okay. Personally, with all my cats, i prefer using covered litter boxes, that way my cats are happy.. and i don’t get to see or smell the mess. However, it’s important to know that; in the first couple of weeks, you should not have the box covered, until you make sure that your cat has established a good litter box habits, then you can start adding the cover.
Size of the litter box Don’t get a litter box that is too small for your cat, get one that is big enough for your cat’s adult size so she can find enough space to move around.
Moreover, make sure the litter-box is easy access for your cat. Meaning, if you have a kitten, or a senior cat that can’t jump that high for example, make sure you get her a short length litter-box that she can easily get in and out of.
Regular Cleaning It is very important to clean the litter box regularly. Because of so many obvious reasons like dealing with a smell, and the germs. But most importantly, you should know that cats don’t like going in a dirty box, so if you leave the box dirty, your cat may start doing it outside the box.
Don’t Hide it: Location of the litter box is very important to encourage good litter box habits. You may not like it, but the box has to be placed in a place that is safe, and that is a socially important place, contrary to what many people believe.
Cats don’t appreciate privacy when it comes to litter boxes.
Don’t hide the litter box behind the couch, behind the bathroom door, or down in the basement, because the cat will not go there.
Cats love to smell their scent around places were they can smell their owner’s scent. And I don’t mean bad odor, i mean the scent that our human noses cannot smell, because they need to mark their territory. Learn more about litter box training your cat
5. Scratch Post
Scratching posts are very important if you want to keep your furniture safe. Because cats have to scratch, it’s just part of their amazing nature, that you have to accept if you love your cat. Cats scratch to remove the dead outer layer of their claws, and to mark their territory. So you can never stop your cat from scratching. However, what you can do, is to shape that behavior into a positive one that would make you both happy.
One way to do that is to use a scratching post. To teach your cat that scratching is good, but it has to be done “here”.
Cats need to exercise daily, and the time and methods of exercising varies, depending on the cat’s bread and its energy level. One way to do that, is using toys that can stimulate your cat physically and mentally. Needless to say, if you leave your cat alone for a certain amount of hours, you need to have some toys around so she/he would have something to do when you’re not around.
7. Grooming and Grooming Tools:
You will need: a brush, a comb, and a nail trimmer:
Brushing your cat; Depending on your cat’s hair length and thickness, she/he will need regular brushing to; reduce shedding, helps keeping your cat clean, preventing mats, and lessen hair balls and bonding with your cat.
Most cats love brushing, however, you should start brushing you cat as early as possible so she can get used it.
Nail Trimming; there are many reasons why it is advisable to trim your cat’s nails. The most obvious one, is for damage control. However, you should only cut the thin sharp edge of the nail.
Be careful , if you get too deep, you can cut the vein and hurt your cat.
8. Introducing your cat to another pet:
If you have another pet in the house, whether it’s another cat, a dog or any other pet. You need to take it slowly, so you can properly introduce them to each other.
9. Take him/her to the vet:
First of all, you need to ask the previous owner about your cat’s medical history. And It’s very important to make a quick visit to the vet once you bring your cat home. Get her checked, learn about cats vaccination. Learn about Spaying or intrauterine your cat, proper nutrition and all that good stuff. ?
10. Take things Slowly:
Finally, Remember to take things slowly. Transitions are usually very stressful on your cat. But younger kittens usually adapt to their new environment faster than older cats. So give them space, and time.
Go with your cat’s own pace. She will learn to love and trust you… ღ
If you’re reading this chances are; you’re thinking about getting your first pet..
Welcoming a new member to the family is very exciting, and pets can play a huge part in turning a house into a home.
It’s a responsibility that we chose to take, and the love and emotional support we get in return is just amazing. However, if it’s not planned right, it could turn into a real nightmare, and it’s our animals who pay the price.
⚠️ Never Buy a Pet out of an Impulse decision.
First, we need to go through some basic concepts:
Animals are not disposable, they are not another part of your collection, and they are definitely not ours to posses.
We do not “own” our animals.. As a matter of fact, if its anything, they are the ones who kinda own us ?. I mean, if you actually think about it; they take up your space, you prepare their meals, feed them, shower them, entertain them, and clean after them. Its kinda like having a toddler really.
Our pets are our companions, and we are their care takers, or as one of my favorite animal behaviorist “Jackson Galaxy”says; “We are their Guardians”.
Now let’s Find Your Perfect Match ?
Ask yourself these questions so you can make an informative, right decision:
1. Do they match your lifestyle?
Are you a morning or a night person? When is your free time?
Are you an outdoor person? or would you rather be indoors? Are you an Active person?
Animals have their own exotic wild nature, and its these behavioral, physical and mental differences that makes each specie amazing in its own unique way.
So you should always learn beforehand, respect and embrace their qualities. Don’t force your own lifestyle on them. For as, at he end, this would only lead to your and their frustration.
One of the worst things a pet owner could do is; buying a pet that doesn’t match their lifestyle, and then force their lifestyle and house rules on him/her ⚠
Animals’ lives should not be compromised to fit our world.
2. Do you have the time?
Do you have enough time to spend with your pet?
How much time do you spend at work?
Do you travel a lot?
Who can take care of your baby when you’re away?
Some pets are a bit independent and rather be left alone doing their own thing, while others are very social and need constant human interaction. They need to be around you all the time. And if that didn’t happen, they are subjected to depression which leads to so many behavioral problems. So you need to put that into consideration.
3. How long are you willing to commit?
Some animals have very short life spans, like Roborovski hamster who live around 3 years. While others can surpass our lives, like some parrots who can live up to 80 years, and tortoises who can live up to a 100 years if they are properly taken care of. So how long are you willing to commit to your pet friend?
4. Be prepared and understand the risks:
So whatever type of pet you decide to go for, there will always be risks. Because you’re dealing with a wild creature, even ones who have been domesticated for decades like cats and dogs. Animals are animals, and its the beauty of their wild nature that made us fall in love with them in the first place. Mistakes will happen among the most trained of all. Because even us as “Humans” we make mistakes.
So if you cannot deal with the mess, think again..
Do your homework, and be ready…
5. Where do you live?
Do you live in a house, a big apartment or a studio apartment? Do you have a backyard garden where your pets could hang out? Is your home pet friendly?
The sizes of animals vary and so does the space required. For example, if you live in a small apartment, and you get a cute little puppy, who grows up to be a really large dog, this could be a real issue. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot get one… you just need to be aware of every aspect so you know what you’re getting yourself into, what to expect, and how to prepare for it. Moreover, some animals are small, but they still need a large space for their enclosures and other stuff.
Nevertheless, Some pets could be really loud and vocal.. For example, if you are looking into larger parrots like Macaws; they can be REALLY LOUD, plus they do take a lot of space for their cage, toys and all that good stuff. Although you can train them not to scream, but they are recommended to people who live in a house, and not in an apartment.
So can you adapt to that? What about your neighbors?
6. Do you have kids? One-person Or a family pet?:
Some animals can get along well with children, while others are not recommended unless there is constant supervision.
Because, some animals like African Grey Parrots, are very phobic, they do not like sudden movements and they’re easily scared if they’re not properly socialized.
Moreover, some animals only bond with one-person who is probably their main care taker, and doesn’t really care about the rest. Whereas, there are others who are very social and can bond with the whole family.
7. Super cuddly, independent or somewhere in-between?
Do you want a pet that you can cuddle and kiss all the time, or would you rather have a pet who loves being around you doing his own business, while you’re doing your own. Every animal has his or her own personality even among the same breed.
So what kind of personality are you looking for?
For example, many cockatoo parrots owners give them up for adoption because they cannot keep up with their needs. Cockatoo parrots are one the most social and super cuddly breed among parrots, so people buy them out of an impulse. But then they have to let them go when they realize that they don’t have enough time to hold and cuddle them.. All Day Long.
8. Can you afford it?
This is really important to think about before you welcome your new baby home. Adding to the cost of the pet, you need to think about their living expanses; food, toys, vet visits, enclosure, etc…
And it really depends on the specie. You need to know if you are ready to take that responsibility, or if it’s not the right time yet.
9. Do you have any kind of allergies?
This is quite obvious but you really need to get checked for allergies beforehand, because if you have a serious allergy to cats for example, you don’t wanna be sneezing for almost 16 years, and you don’t wanna get attached to an animal, only to find out that you have to let him go.
10. Research your Local vets beforehand
Are there good vets in your area? Do they treat the animal of your choice?
Depending on where you live, you need to make sure that there are good reputable vets around. Because nobody likes bad news but believe me, if God forbids anything should happen to your little baby and you are not prepared, its gonna be too hard to watch your poor baby suffer.
11. Consider adoption…
So many pets are suffering in silence because, their owners had to let them go.
Whereas, some are sent to shelters, and some are brutally thrown on the streets.
Needless to say, these numbers represent the US. only. What about the rest of the world? The numbers are continuously growing and shelters are crying out for adoption. So consider adoption, and help save a life.
To sum up, there are endless numbers of animals, birds, fish and reptiles that you can choose from.
Take your time… Narrow down your list and start researching each one thoroughly, to find your perfect match ♡