Book Review – Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purrfect Health by Kymythy Schultze

I believe that providing our pets with species-appropriate nutrition is one of the most important things we can do to help our pets live a long life, but also a high-quality, vital life. Sadly, due to lack of knowledge, misinformation spread by big pet food companies, or choosing our convenience over our pet’s health this does not always happen.

My wife and I have been eager students of pet nutrition long before we even knew we would enjoy careers in the pet care services industry. We had a dog with severe medical issues that were related to his diet ( FMIhttp://bit.ly/Gus-Nutrition ) which caused us to devour everything we could learn from books, seminars, articles, people and more. We focused mostly on dogs at first then expanded to cats. When our newest cat, Boomer, developed nutritionally related health issues at a young age, we started looking for even more information on cats and nutrition. Like most things dog and cat, there is often less available about our feline friends.

Kymythy Schultze’s first book Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats has long been the book I recommend for clients that want to prepare a homemade diet for their pets. I like that it is short, simple, and easy to understand while at the same time being complete. When I heard about Kymythy’s latest book, Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purrfect Health I immediately added it to my “To Read” pile. As has happened more than once, I am kicking myself for not putting this book on the top of the pile sooner.

By reading Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purrfect Health, you will learn the how and why of feeding your cat for optimal health. Additionally, you will also learn about the relationship between veterinary schools, the veterinary community as a whole, and the big businesses that represent the vast majority of the pet food industry. The latter makes this book a “must read” for dog people in addition to cat lovers.

One of the things that I like best about Kymythy and her books is that they are based on common sense, something that seems to be disappearing from our world. For example, early on in the book, she states “A good diet for your cat is one that provides the correct nutrients, in the proper forms, that it needs to be healthy and happy. Plus, the regimen has to please you, too. If you’re uncomfortable with a particular way of feeding or if you don’t understand it, you probably shouldn’t be doing it. How you feed your cat must fit into your personal comfort zone and be good for your cat as well.” Kymythy’s book provides the reader with expert advice on feeding a cat, but Kymythy recognizes that not everyone will have the resources to feed as she does and she makes that clear. She provides the reader with the information that they need, seldom provided by pet food companies or veterinarians, so that you can make an educated decision that will be in the best interests of both you and your cat. As she notes “The main goal here is to get some real food into your feline friend!

Kymythy’s recommendations certainly have merit. We recently interviewed her on The Woof Meow ShowFMIhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/07/31/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-kymythy-schultze-author-of-natural-nutrition-for-cats-the-path-to-purrfect-health/ ) where she told us that her most recent cat to cross the Rainbow Bridge lived to be thirty-two years old and that most of her cats lived into their mid-twenties. Kate and I were speechless for a few moments and those that know us, know that is a rarity. Kymythy obviously is on to something!

In Chapter 1, Kymythy starts by defining good health. She discusses the many health issues found in cat’s today (“Problems with skin, coat, parasites, teeth, weight, odor, digestion, kidney, thyroid, pancreas, diabetes, urinary, respiratory, and immune systems are not normal. They’re not signs of good health!”) which are all too often accepted as “normal” because they are becoming more and more prevalent. Then she discusses why what we feed our pets plays such a significant role in their health. Central to that theme is the importance of eating and feeding real food instead of processed products;  “As both humans and felines have strayed from eating fresh foods, both our species have suffered a huge increase in obesity, diabetes, allergies, cancer, behavior problems, general ill health, and more.

The book also discusses the anatomy and physiology of the cat and how that determines what food is biologically appropriate for them as a species. The cat is an obligatory carnivore which means that they MUST eat meat. Many of our cats who spend time outdoors routinely hunt, kill and consume what they have killed – preparing their meals just as nature intended. Mice and birds are a more natural source of nutrition for our cats than processed kibble which can be as much as 60% carbohydrates, something that the cat has no need for in their diet; “Even the National Research Council’s Subcommittee on Cat Nutrition states that “. . . no known dietary carbohydrate requirement exists for the cat . . .” Obesity is a major problem for both dogs and cats, and we all know the link between carbohydrates and obesity in humans. Pets are no different.

The cats need for water from the food that they eat is also addressed, something that cats do not get in sufficient quantities from dry food and treats. We also discussed this on The Woof Meow Show with Kymythy where she noted: “If your cat is going to a water bowl frequently it is likely they are not getting enough water in their food and may be dehydrated.” The cats instinctual need for water in their food is yet another example of why feeding fresh meat, or a quality canned food, at least as a supplement, is a better choice than only feeding your cat dry food.

In Chapter 4, Kymythy addresses pet kibble, cans, and the major pet food manufacturers. She discusses how pet food regulations are developed and how these regulations are, in her opinion, lacking. In reference to those that establish the regulations she states “The authors actually say, “Few nutritional requirements are known for the adult cat for maintenance or for pregnancy and lactation.” Kymythy then discusses how these commercial kibbles are tested, in a feeding trial where “Quality of life and longevity aren’t part of the test, and even a year-long feeding trial may not expose imbalances that take longer to affect a cat.”

If you are interested in pet food regulations and the scary underbelly of the pet food industry I would encourage you to watch the documentary Pet Fooled: A Look Inside A Questionable Industry ( FMI http://www.petfooled.com/  ).

Kymythy addresses what is in the bag in chapter six, explaining why “veterinarian recommended” on the bag is not as helpful as many assume. She reviews common ingredients used in cat food and tells you what to look for and more importantly what to avoid. As Kymythy states “One might think it reasonable to assume that the premium price of this brand of food and the fact that it’s sold through veterinarians would assure us of better-quality protein. But I suppose the lesson is: Don’t assume!

The concept of feeding our pets something that is not cooked is hard for some, especially veterinarians, to understand. In Chapter 7 Kymythy explains how cooking food for our pets, especially at high temperatures and pressures, can be detrimental. She states: “Research at the National Cancer Institute and John Hopkins University in the U.S. and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in London, and other studies— including those conducted by experts in Japan and Europe— show that cooking meat with high temperatures creates chemicals that aren’t present when it’s raw. Seventeen different carcinogenic (cancer-causing) compounds develop that collectively are called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). These HCAs interfere with the body’s genetic structure and are proven to cause cancer in animals. They’re specifically linked to cancer of the stomach, pancreas, colon, heart, and breast. The substances are even found in nursing youngsters, so we know they travel through breast milk.” She also cites a study by Dr. Paul Kouchakoff that examined the effect of cooked and raw food on the immune system; “After much research, he concluded that raw food was viewed by the immune system as “friendly,” and cooked food was viewed as dangerous.” Lastly, Kymythy discusses the 10-year study by Dr. Francis Pottenger that demonstrated that cats fed an entirely raw-food diet were vastly healthier than those fed a cooked diet.

She concludes Chapter 7 stating “It’s ironic, really, how all these years later, many cat lovers are actually still repeating this research by feeding cooked petfood products to their cats. And not surprisingly, many are seeing the same ill-health effects that Dr. Pottenger saw in his cooked-food cats. These people certainly don’t intend to hurt their animal friends, it’s just that the cooked-product companies are very large, powerful, and convincing in their marketing. So who’s to blame for our cats’ health problems?

In Chapter 8 Kymythy discusses responsibility and the fact that as our cat’s guardians, we are ultimately responsible for their health. She also discusses, as she did on The Woof Meow Show, many of her concerns about the pet food industry and the overly close relationship they have with veterinarians, especially veterinary schools. Kymythy notes in the book: “…when I was studying animal nutrition at Cornell University’s College of Veterinary Medicine a few years ago, only a couple of my professors weren’t paid employees of petfood companies.” Like Kymythy, I find this corporate bias in our educational system very alarming.

In our interview with Kymythy, she also talked about how little time was spent in her nutrition classes at Cornell learning about real food; whole unprocessed, food in its natural form. However, when one considers that most of these “nutrition classes” are taught by a pet food company employee and that those companies do not use real food in their product, I guess one should not be surprised, although I would hope everyone would be disappointed.

In Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purrfect Health Kymythy also discusses the brilliant marketing strategies used by big pet food companies. What she says is so important I am quoting her below.

The biggest petfood companies hire brilliant marketers to sell their products. After all, what could be better than having experts (veterinarians) endorse your product? How did this come about? Well, one of the parent companies that’s become very involved with vets also makes toothpaste. Do you remember the old advertisement that boasted eight out of ten dentists recommend a particular brand? It was a brilliant campaign and put this firm at the top of toothpaste sales.

At the time, the company also had a very small petfood division they were about to sell, but an executive came forward with a great idea: If they could use the same tactic with this branch as they had with their toothpaste, they’d be equally successful. So they used the pharmaceutical industry’s practice of spending tons of money to woo doctors. In fact, a retired sales executive from the petfood company commented on why this marketing strategy works so well: “It’s just like taking drugs: You go to the doctor, and he prescribes something for you, and you don’t much question what the doctor says. It’s the same with animals.”

They know that the trust cat guardians have in vets is so strong that they’ll feed what they’re told without question. So the manufacturer spends a great deal of money enforcing that connection. In fact, other than universities, this company is the country’s largest employer of vets! They fund research and nutrition courses and professorships at veterinary colleges and offer a formal nutrition-certification program for technicians. They’ve also written a widely used textbook on animal nutrition that’s given free of charge to veterinary students, who also receive stipends and get products at zero or almost-zero charge.

This relationship doesn’t end after graduation. The corporation sends veterinarians to seminars on how to better sell their products, provides sales-goal-oriented promotions, gives them lots of promotional tools, and offers big discounts so that vets make more money on product sales.

Although not discussed in Kymythy’s book, as it is a recent development, a major pet food company is now purchasing veterinary clinics adding, even more, bias and pressure for the veterinarian, who will now be an employee of that company, to exclusively promote the company’s products. This direct financial relationship affects not only pet food but also vaccines. ( FMIhttp://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2017/06/25/pets-over-vaccination.aspx )

In Chapter 9, Kymythy discusses how she decided to feed her cats by making her food at home, instead of relying on any commercial product. As she points out, while some call feeding pets real food a fad, commercial pet food is a relatively new idea. For hundreds of years, people with dogs and cats fed their pet’s real food that they prepared themselves. Some in the veterinary community will argue that there is no proof that feeding a pet a raw diet or homemade diet is safe. Kymythy states: ”There’s no proof that feeding your cats a processed pet food is better for them than a properly prepared meal of fresh, species-appropriate food. And anyone who says cats are living longer today because of those processed products also has no proof. Certainly, a cat may live longer today if it’s not outside being hit by a car or attacked by another predator. But the cats of my grandmother’s day were frequently living well into their late 20s without benefit of processed products. Feeding real food is really just the longest used way of feeding cats.” The fact that no studies exist to support that feeding processed foods provides optimal nutrition are also made by veterinarians Dr. Karen Becker and Dr. Barbara Royal in the documentary Pet Fooled: A Look Inside A Questionable Industry. ( FMI http://www.petfooled.com/  )

Kymythy concludes the book by discussing how you can start making food for your cat. “The C.A.T. diet— CatAppropriate and Tasty! It’s a simple combination of raw meat (muscle and organ), bone, and a few supplements (or “supps” as we call them at my house). The ingredients provide every known nutrient, and the meal is easy to prepare.” She discusses shopping for supplies, preparing the food and how to transition your cat to their new diet.

If you want to learn how you can make healthy, nutritious meals for your cat or if you just want to find out more about cat nutrition and the good and bad of the pet food industry, I highly recommend Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purrfect Health by Kymythy Schultze

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

Pet Nutrition – What Should I Feed My Pet?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/06/04/pet-nutrition-what-should-i-feed-my-pet/

What do you feed your dog?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/05/31/pet-nutrition-what-do-you-feed-your-dog/

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gushttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/04/03/pet-nutrition-some-myths-and-facts-part-1-my-story-with-gus/

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 2 – In the Spring 2017 issue of Maine DOG Magazine, Coming here soon!

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 3 – Look for this article in the Fall 2017 issue of Maine DOG Magazine, Coming here soon! –

Pet Nutrition – Should I Feed My Pet A Raw Diet?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/09/11/pet-nutrition-should-i-feed-my-pet-a-raw-diet/

Video – The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton – A video of animal nutritionist, Dr. Richard Patton’s presentation, The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition, presented by Green Acres Kennel Shop in Bangor, ME on April 28th, 2016. – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/09/10/pet-nutrition-the-science-and-dogma-of-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Changes in Pet Food and Nutrition – part 1http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/11/23/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-changes-in-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-1/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Pet Food and Nutrition – part 2http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/12/15/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-2/


Book Review – Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – The paradox of pet nutrition by Richard Patton
http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/03/16/book-review-ruined-by-excess-perfected-by-lack-the-paradox-of-pet-nutrition-by-richard-patton/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 1 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/06/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-1/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 2 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/07/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-2/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 3 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/08/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-3/

Nutrition – Why Rotating Diets Makes Sensehttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2012/05/04/nutrition-why-rotating-diets-makes-sense/

Nutrition – Determining True Pet Food Costshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2008/11/08/nutrition-determining-true-pet-food-costs/

Pet Nutrition – How Much Fat Is In Your Pet’s Food?  – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/10/12/pet-nutrition-how-much-fat-is-in-your-pets-food/

Pet Nutrition – New Zealand dog diet study a wake-up call for dog nutritionhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/05/19/pet-nutrition-new-zealand-dog-diet-study-a-wake-up-call-for-dog-nutrition/

Pet Nutrition –Vital Essentials® Pet Foodhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/14/pet-nutrition-vital-essentials-pet-food/

Shared Blog Post – FDA on a Witch Hunt Against Commercial Pet Food? A Little Spritz of This Makes Pet Food Far Saferhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/11/28/shared-blog-post-fda-on-a-witch-hunt-against-commercial-pet-food-a-little-spritz-of-this-makes-pet-food-far-safer/

Pet Nutrition – From Dr. Karen Becker – A Vegetarian or Vegan Diet Is Not Healthy For Your Dog or Cathttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/09/27/pet-nutrition-from-dr-karen-becker-a-vegetarian-or-vegan-diet-is-not-healthy-for-your-dog-or-cat/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Kymythy Schultze Author of Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purrfect Health – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/07/31/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-kymythy-schultze-author-of-natural-nutrition-for-cats-the-path-to-purrfect-health/

What do you feed your pets?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/04/22/podcast-encore-what-do-you-feed-your-pets/

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/03/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Podcast – Pet Fooled – A Look Inside A Questionable Industry with Kohl Harringtonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/05/06/podcast-pet-fooled-a-look-inside-a-questionable-industry-with-kohl-harrington/

Books

Beginnings – Getting Your Dog and Cat Started on a Raw Diet by Melinda Miller and Honoring Your Cat’s Natural Diet by Terri Grow < Click here for a free download >

Feline Nutrition: Nutrition for the Optimum Health and Longevity of your Cat – Lynn Curtis

Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purr-fect Health – Kymythy Schultze

Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats – The Ultimate Diet – Kymythy Schultze

Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – Dr. Richard Patton

See Spot Live Longer – Steve Brown and Beth Taylor

The Truth About Pet Foods – Dr. Randy Wysong

Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet – Steve Brown

 

©31JUL17, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Kymythy Schultze Author of Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purrfect Health

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In this episode of The Woof Meow Show from July 29, 2017, Kate and Don interview Kymythy Schultze, a Clinical Nutritionist, and Animal Health Instructor, and the author of Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats: The Ultimate Diet, The Natural Nutrition No-Cook Book, and Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purrfect Health. Kymythy’s first book Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats has long been the first book I recommend for clients that want to prepare a homemade diet for their pets. I like that it is short, simple, and easy to understand while at the same time being complete. Kate and I recently read Kymythy’s book, The Ultimate Diet and Natural Nutrition for Cats and were equally impressed.

We start our show by asking Kymythy how she became interested in nutrition and she explains how her interest started with her health problems which improved as she began paying attention to what she ate. As her health improved, Kymythy began looking at how better nutrition could improve the life of her pets and the wildlife she rehabilitated. Kymythy went on to become a Certified Clinical Nutritionist for humans and then studied animal nutrition at Cornell University’s school of veterinary medicine. Kymythy notes that while her formal education was invaluable, she has also found that like with so many other things, common sense plays a huge role in nutrition.

Kate asked about common nutritional traits between dogs and cats. Kymythy noted that both cats and dog carnivores, but that the dogs are more opportunistic and will sometimes eat things that are not good for them. One only needs to look at their physical anatomy to tell that the dog and cat are predatory carnivores.

We discuss the terms “biologically appropriate food” and “species appropriate nutrition” and what they mean. Kymythy explains how nature and evolution have designed animals to eat specific things. Cats and dogs are designed to eat meat. From their canine teeth to their digestive system they have evolved to kill, eat, and digest food that may even be teeming with bacteria.

In her latest book, Kymythy talks about a reader in Scotland who expressed concern about the big pet food companies, many who actively deny the fact that cats and dogs are carnivores, and the influence these companies have on what veterinary students are taught about nutrition.

We asked Kymythy to tell us about the nutrition classes she took at Cornell. She expressed concern, which we share that so many of the “self-described experts” and veterinary nutritionists are being trained by the pet food companies that promote heavily processed food. When these students go on to become veterinarians, they then go on to promote foods from these same companies. Kymythy noted that only one of her professors at Cornell was NOT a paid employee of a pet food company. One has to wonder how these professors can be unbiased in what they teach.

Kymythy told us that real, fresh food was never discussed in her classes at Cornell. The only foods discussed were highly processed commercial pet food. I have noted some of Kymythy’s comments about her Cornell experience below.

Food, in its natural form, really wasn’t discussed.” “How nutrition was approached was all about excess and deficiency. About specific nutrients like calcium, phosphorous, zinc, copper, that sort of thing. It wasn’t about food.” “We didn’t really learn much about food. We learned about products, and excess and deficiency.”

It was a real eye-opening experience for me, it really was, going to Cornell, because it was not what I thought it was going to be. I thought we were going to be talking about food. Because I consider that nutrition. And if we’re gonna talk about nutrients let’s talk about nutrients from real food. It really surprised me that really was not included at all. It was more talking about individual nutrients in excess or deficiency states and products, what products to use. That was the bigee. It wasn’t that a dog or cat may need more of this type of food, it was what product would be best to use in this case.“

In segment two we focus on cats, asking what nutrients they need to be healthy. Kymythy explained that if we look at what many of our cats do when left on their own, kill and consume small rodents and birds, the answer is pretty obvious. Their natural behavior tells us they need muscle meat, organ meat, and bones. The best diet for our cats is one that will mimic that as closely as possible. Kymythy mentions the last cat of hers that passed lived to be 32 years old on such a diet. She notes that having cats live into their late 20’s is the norm for her.  Kymythy stressed that length of life should not be our only concern and that quality of life is equally important. The quality of the nutrition we provide for our pets plays a huge role in the quality of their lives.

Our discussion then shifts to water as a nutrient and its extreme importance to cats. Unfortunately, processed food does not contain water in the necessary quantities to meet a cat’s needs. Because of their low thirst drive, acts may not ingest the amount of water they need to be in optimal health. That is why cats need to have wet food in their diet. A natural diet, like a piece of meat, would have a high moisture content compared to a bowl of kibble with very little moisture. If your cat is going to a water bowl frequently it is likely they are not getting enough water in their food and may be dehydrated.

Kymythy also discusses how young kittens imprint on food and how it can be difficult to change a cat’s diet as they get older. Cats imprinted on kibble can almost become addicted to dry food, which is not in their best interest. While transitioning to a better diet and be difficult, Kymythy has never had a cat that she could not transition to a more nutritious food.

In the third segment of the show, Kate asks Kymythy if a cat that has been fed kibble all its life will have difficulty digesting a raw food. Kymythy indicates that feeding a poor diet can have a negative effect on the gut flora; probiotics, and enzymes. She explains that simply adding appropriate probiotics and digestive enzymes to the new food may help them make the transition.

Kymythy summarized the initial steps people can take in improving their cat’s health.

  • Feed a species appropriate diet, compromised of meat and bone
  • Learn all you can
    • however, be cautious, especially on the internet
    • Kate and Don recommend reading Kymythy’s book- Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purrfect Health by Kymythy Schultze
  • Kymythy emphasizes “There are things you need to know, but it is not complicated.”

< Click to Listen to Podcast >

 

Contact Info for Kymythy

You can learn more about Kymythy and her books at the following places. Please note that Kymythy also offers private nutrition counseling for pets.

Websitewww.kymythy.com

Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/kymythynaturalnutrition/

Recommended Resources

Articles on Don’s Blog (http://www.words-woofs-meows.com)

 

Book Review – Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purrfect Health by Kymythy Schultzehttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/07/31/book-review-natural-nutrition-for-cats-the-path-to-purrfect-health-by-kymythy-schultze/

Pet Nutrition – What Should I Feed My Pet?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/06/04/pet-nutrition-what-should-i-feed-my-pet/

What do you feed your dog?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/05/31/pet-nutrition-what-do-you-feed-your-dog/

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 1 – My story with Gushttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/04/03/pet-nutrition-some-myths-and-facts-part-1-my-story-with-gus/

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 2 – In the Spring 2017 issue of Maine DOG Magazine, Coming here soon!

Pet Nutrition: Some Myths and Facts – Part 3 – Look for this article in the Fall 2017 issue of Maine DOG Magazine, Coming here soon! –

Pet Nutrition – Should I Feed My Pet A Raw Diet?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/09/11/pet-nutrition-should-i-feed-my-pet-a-raw-diet/

Video – The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Patton – A video of animal nutritionist, Dr. Richard Patton’s presentation, The Science and Dogma of Pet Nutrition, presented for Green Acres Kennel Shop in Bangor, ME on April 28th, 2016. – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/09/10/pet-nutrition-the-science-and-dogma-of-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Changes in Pet Food and Nutrition – part 1http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/11/23/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-changes-in-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-1/

Reflections on 20 Years as a Pet Care Professional – Pet Food and Nutrition – part 2http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/12/15/reflections-on-20-years-as-a-pet-care-professional-pet-food-and-nutrition-part-2/


Book Review – Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – The paradox of pet nutrition by Richard Patton
http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/03/16/book-review-ruined-by-excess-perfected-by-lack-the-paradox-of-pet-nutrition-by-richard-patton/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 1 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/06/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-1/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 2 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/07/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-2/

Nutrition – Which Brand of Pet Food is the Best? – Part 3 – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/08/01/nutrition-which-brand-of-pet-food-is-the-best-part-3/

Nutrition – Why Rotating Diets Makes Sensehttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2012/05/04/nutrition-why-rotating-diets-makes-sense/

Nutrition – Determining True Pet Food Costshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2008/11/08/nutrition-determining-true-pet-food-costs/

Pet Nutrition – How Much Fat Is In Your Pet’s Food?  – http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2014/10/12/pet-nutrition-how-much-fat-is-in-your-pets-food/

Pet Nutrition – New Zealand dog diet study a wake-up call for dog nutritionhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/05/19/pet-nutrition-new-zealand-dog-diet-study-a-wake-up-call-for-dog-nutrition/

Pet Nutrition –Vital Essentials® Pet Foodhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/14/pet-nutrition-vital-essentials-pet-food/

Shared Blog Post – FDA on a Witch Hunt Against Commercial Pet Food? A Little Spritz of This Makes Pet Food Far Saferhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/11/28/shared-blog-post-fda-on-a-witch-hunt-against-commercial-pet-food-a-little-spritz-of-this-makes-pet-food-far-safer/

Pet Nutrition – From Dr. Karen Becker – A Vegetarian or Vegan Diet Is Not Healthy For Your Dog or Cathttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2015/09/27/pet-nutrition-from-dr-karen-becker-a-vegetarian-or-vegan-diet-is-not-healthy-for-your-dog-or-cat/

Podcasts from The Woof Meow Show (http://www.woofmeowshow.com)

What do you feed your pets?http://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/04/22/podcast-encore-what-do-you-feed-your-pets/

Podcast – Pet Nutrition with Dr. Richard Pattonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/03/podcast-pet-nutrition-with-dr-richard-patton/

Podcast – Pet Fooled – A Look Inside A Questionable Industry with Kohl Harringtonhttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2017/05/06/podcast-pet-fooled-a-look-inside-a-questionable-industry-with-kohl-harrington/

Podcast – Raw Diets and the Carnivore Meat Company-Vital Essentials-Dee Ferranti and Jodi Langellottihttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/04/17/podcast-raw-diets-and-the-carnivore-meat-company-vital-essentials-dee-ferranti-and-jodi-langellotti/

Podcast – Holistic and Complementary Wellness for Pets – Nutrition and Raw Food for Pets with Bette Schubert from Bravo Pet Foodshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/10/02/podcast-holistic-and-complementary-wellness-for-pets-nutrition-and-raw-food-for-pets-with-bette-schubert-from-bravo-pet-foods/

Podcast – The Rationale for Feeding Pets Raw Foods with Bette Schubert from Bravo Pet Foodshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/03/podcast-the-rationale-for-feeding-pets-raw-foods-with-bette-schubert-from-bravo-pet-foods/

Podcast – Bravo’s Raw Pets Food, Treats, Chewables and Bones with Bette Shuberthttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/08/10/podcast-bravos-raw-pets-food-treats-chewables-and-bones-with-bette-shubert/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Gary Bursell of Steve’s Real Food for Petshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/16/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-gary-bursell-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

Podcast – Feeding Your Pet A Raw Diet with Nicole Lindsley of Steve’s Real Food for Petshttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2013/03/23/podcast-feeding-your-pet-a-raw-diet-with-nicole-lindsley-of-steves-real-food-for-pets/

Podcast – Pet Obesity with Dr. Chris Barry – Kindred Spirits Veterinary Clinichttp://www.greenacreskennel.com/blog/2016/08/24/podcast-pet-obesity-with-dr-chris-barry-kindred-spirits-veterinary-clinic/

Books

Beginnings – Getting Your Dog and Cat Started on a Raw Diet by Melinda Miller and Honoring Your Cat’s Natural Diet by Terri Grow < Click here for a free download >

Feline Nutrition: Nutrition for the Optimum Health and Longevity of your Cat – Lynn Curtis

Natural Nutrition for Cats: The Path to Purr-fect Health – Kymythy Schultze

Natural Nutrition for Dogs and Cats – The Ultimate Diet – Kymythy Schultze

Ruined by Excess, Perfected by Lack – Dr. Richard Patton

See Spot Live Longer – Steve Brown and Beth Taylor

The Truth About Pet Foods – Dr. Randy Wysong

Unlocking the Canine Ancestral Diet – Steve Brown

 

 

©31JUL17, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved
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Shared Blog Post – Cats Domesticated Themselves, Ancient DNA Shows – from National Geographic

This June 19th article from National Geographic reports “In a new comprehensive study of the spread of domesticated cats, DNA analysis suggests that cats lived for thousands of years alongside humans before they were domesticated. During that time, their genes have changed little from those of wildcats, apart from picking up one recent tweak: the distinctive stripes and dots of the tabby cat.” – http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/06/domesticated-cats-dna-genetics-pets-science/

Links We Like – 17JAN16

Links We LikeEvery day we review the internet for pet related posts that we think might be of interest to our clients. Usually, they contain valuable information about pet behavior, training, health or nutrition. Occasionally we find a post that is just simply funny. We save the links to these posts and share them in our email newsletter, on FaceBook and in my blog, www.words-woofs-meows.com,

Gail Fisher’s Dog Tracks: A reminder of the dangers of ‘dominance’ training – This is a great column from my friend and colleague Gail Fisher of Gail Fisher’s All Dogs Gym ​in Manchester, NH. If someone is telling you that you need to be dominant over your dog or be the alpha, I encourage you to read her column. See more at http://www.unionleader.com/article/20160103/NEWS01/160109974#sthash.IEGgtcrK.dpuf

Dr. Karen Becker on anesthesia-free dental cleaning (also called non-professional dental scaling, or NPDS) for dogs and cats – Dr. Becker explains the benefits of having your veterinarian perform any needed dental procedures on your pet as opposed to a non-professional – http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2016/01/07/pet-anesthesia-free-dental-cleaning.aspx

Dr. Karen Becker – Never Make Your Puppy Endure This Cruel Procedure… No Matter What – Dr. Becker discusses the practice of ear cropping for cosmetic purposes. She describes what it entails, the AVMA’s position and why several provinces in Canada have defined cosmetic ear cropping as an unethical practice. – http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2016/01/06/dog-ear-cropping.aspx

Dr. Karen Becker – 10 Behaviors That Stress Your Cat Like Crazy… Some May Surprise You – If you live with a cat or interact with cats on a regular basis, I encourage you to read this article. Often the calls and inquiries I get about cats are related to the issues discussed in this article by Dr. Becker. http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2016/01/09/stress-triggers-for-cats.aspx

Factors to Consider Before Getting a Brachycephalic Breeds – Dr. Karen Becker – Owners Relinquishing Popular Purebred Pets in Record Numbers – In this blog post, Dr. Becker talks about the increase in the popularity of dogs and cats with a short-head and a short-muzzle. Some of the more common dog breeds in this category are; Boston Terrier, Boxer, Bulldog, Pekingese, Pug and Shih Tzu. Brachycephalic cat breeds include Himalayans and Persians. As these breeds become more popular, more of them are ending up in shelters looking for a new home. People are surrendering these pets when they discover the frequent health problems, and cost of caring for them. Sadly some breeders are selecting for even more extreme head and muzzle shapes which is increasing health problems. – http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites/healthypets/archive/2016/01/13/pug-shih-tzu-pet.aspx

 

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Cat Litter: Who Gets to Choose?

A version of this article appeared in the 22DEC15 issue of The Maine Edge

Cartton Cat in Litterbox-canstockphoto10613617Cat litter is not a topic that typically comes up in polite conversation. Unless you own a cat, you probably don’t think about cat litter at all. The initial premise behind cat litter, which was “invented” back in 1947, was to provide cats with an indoor bathroom. Cat ownership has steadily increased, and as more people keep their cats inside all of the time, cat litter has exploded into a $2 billion per year industry.  The ASPCA estimates the average cat owner spends around $200 per year, per cat, on cat litter, $60 more than the average family spends on toilet paper in one year. On an annual basis, in the US alone, the need for cat litter results in the mining of five billion pounds of clay. Manufacturer’s process and package the litter that we then pour into our cats litter box. Our cat “uses” their box and then we scoop out the soiled litter and eventually dispose of it in a landfill. Cat litter has a significant monetary and environmental impact on the world.

Version 1.0 of cat litter was pretty simple. It was a type of clay made of Fuller’s Earth that readily absorbed cat urine and thus helped to control the odors associated with cat waste. Since cats normally would urinate and defecate in the dirt outside, they easily adapted to using a box filled with this new “dirt-like” product.

Over the years, efforts have been made to sell more cat litter by creating illusions of convenience and by making the litter box smell less stinky. Companies now use many alternate materials for cat litter. Among them are clays that readily clump around the urine, which makes the litter in the box last longer. In an attempt to reduce the environmental impact of clay litter, other materials are being used. These include; recycled newspaper, corn, wood pellets, environmentally-sustainable wood shavings and even green tea. Additionally, to make the litter more consumer friendly; basically to stink less after use, litter companies have added a plethora of chemicals to their basic product. These include things as simple and innocuous as baking soda, and less desirable ingredients like chemical deodorants, clumping agents, and even Teflon.

Litter companies advertise their latest innovations in an attempt to get your attention. You decide that cat litter that stinks less is a great idea and then rush out and buy a bag without first consulting with your cat. When you run out of the old litter, you fill Garfield’s box with the new miracle product, proud that your home is going to smell better. That night you come home, sit down on your bed and feel the wet spot. One smell and you know that Garfield has decided your bed, with its new expensive mattress, is a better place to pee than the litter box. Cats are pretty particular about where they choose to go to the bathroom. If your cat dislikes where you have placed their box, if they don’t like the tactile sensation of the litter material; admit it you don’t like the rough tissue paper used in many public restrooms, or if they don’t like the cloying chemical smell of the litter, they will find a better place to perform their bathroom activities.

So the answer to “Cat Litter: Who Gets to Choose?” is your cat. Whenever switching litters, provide your cat with two litter boxes; one containing the litter they have been using and one with the new litter. See which litter your cat prefers and if after a week they are not using the new litter, take a hint. NOTE: Male cats can urinate in inappropriate places if they are experiencing a urinary tract infection. This is not something to take lightly and minimally requires that you at least call your veterinarian.

Other rules of litterbox etiquette that will make life with your cat or cats more pleasant.

  • Have one litter box per cat, plus one. So if you have three cats you should have a minimum of four litter boxes.
  • Do NOT have the litter boxes all in the same space, side-by-side, but instead have them located throughout your home.
  • Make sure the litter boxes are not located in “busy” areas or any area where the dog can access them.
  • Avoid placing litter boxes next to machinery, like a furnace that may startle your cat if it turns on while they are using their box.
  • Scoop each litter box at least once per day, and clean it thoroughly once a week.

______________________________________________________________________________
Don Hanson is the co-owner of the Green Acres Kennel Shop (greenacreskennel.com) in Bangor. He is a Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioner (BFRAP), Certified Dog Behavior Consultant (CDBC), Associate Certified Cat Behavior Consultant (ACCBC) and a Certified Professional Dog Trainer (CPDT-KA). He produces and co- hosts a weekly radio show and podcast, The Woof Meow Show heard on The Pulse AM620 WZON and streamed at http://www.wzonradio.com/ every Saturday at 9 AM. A list of upcoming shows and podcasts of past shows can be found at www.woofmeowshow.com. Don also writes about pets at his blog: www.words-woofs-meows.com.

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>

Cat Behavior – Make Your Life Easier – Get Your Cat to Love Their Carrier

Using a carrier is the safest way to transport an animal from your home to another location. I would particularly discourage anyone from transporting a cat that is not secured in a carrier. No matter how well behaved your cat is, if you are in an accident your cat will be terrified and will do everything they can to get away.

Batmanin A Pie Box
Batmanin A Pie Box

Unfortunately, most cats only see their carrier moments before they are forced into them to be taken on a car ride, usually to the veterinarian, groomer or boarding kennel. Often the end result is a cat that runs and hides the minute they are aware of the presence of the carrier. Finding and extracting a cat from a hiding place without getting scratched or bitten can be a prolonged and stressful process; one that is terrifying for your cat and frustrating for you. Wouldn’t your cat be happier and your life significantly easier if your cat enjoyed their carrier and perhaps even walked right in?  Getting there is not as complicated as you might think.

So how do you get your cat to like their carrier?

  1. Make sure you have a carrier that is safe– If you do not already have a carrier; an airline style carrier is the preferred choice. They are usually made of plastic and have a wire door at the front and sometimes a second wire door on the top. Don’t scrimp when you make this purchase. You want a carrier with doors that can be secured and stay secured. Card board boxes labeled as cat carriers can work, but they are not nearly as safe and we have known many cats to escape from these. Soft-sided carriers are easier to store and are lighter, but in the case of an accident offer your cat little protection
  2. Make sure that your cat finds the carrier to be comfortable – By itself, a plastic carrier is not going to be the most comfortable place; however, you can make it quite posh by inserting a blanket or a pillow that your cat already enjoys.
  3. Leave the carrier out so that your cat can explore it – If your cat is like most cats, they love boxes, bags and other things that they can explore and hide in. Take the door off your carrier and place the carrier in an area that your cat frequents. Do not try to coax the cat into the carrier, let them explore it if and when they are ready. To make the carrier even more rewarding, put a small dish with a tablespoon of your cat’s favorite canned food or some favorite treats at the back of the carrier. Now getting in the crate will be very rewarding. If your cat has favorite toys that they will chase and catch, toss a toy in the carrier and let them go get it and play with it. If your cat is hesitant about the carrier talk to your veterinarian or favorite pet care provider about Feliway®, a feline pheromone which has a calming effect on cats.
  4. Keep the carrier out and keep rewarding your cat for using it – Leave the carrier out as an alternative resting place for your cat and continue to reward them for its use by occasionally; feeding them in the carrier, tossing treats in the carrier, and tossing toys in the carrier,
  5. Put the door back on the carrier and practice carrying your cat – Put the door back on the carrier and continue to reward your cat for going in and exploring. After they are used to the door being back on, toss a treat into the carrier and after the cat goes in gently and quietly close the door, wait a few seconds, open the door and wait for your cat to come out. Repeat this a couple of times per day until your cat is used to hopping in and out of the carrier. When this becomes routine, close the door, pick the carrier up, hold it for a brief period and set it back down. Practice this for several days and then start carrying the cat around in the carrier. Eventually get to the point where you can get the cat in the carrier, carry them out to the car, and then immediately bring them back inside and let them out.
  6. Use the carrier to transport your cat to the vet or kennel – Many cats do not travel well and may get car sick. Make sure your cat’s favorite blanket or towels is in the carrier and if you have some Feliway, spray it on the blanket a good thirty minutes before getting the cat in the carrier. Secure the carrier in your car so it is not thrown in case you need to stop fast, and cover the carrier with another blanket to limit visual stimulus. When you bring your cat back home leave the carrier out and continue to reward them for its use.

    Tyler in a box
    Tyler in a box

With this little extra time and attention your cat can soon be an expert traveler. The time spent today helping your feline friend adjust to liking its carrier will pay off immensely in the future when it comes to getting your cat where it needs to go.

 

 

©2015, Donald J. Hanson, All Rights Reserved <Click for Copyright and Use Policy>