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Are Probiotics Right for Your Cat?

Your cats gastrointestinal tract, like yours, is home to billions of bacteria. A healthy GI tract allows the absorption of food, while excluding toxins and disease-producing organisms. Yet malfunctions can sometimes occur. Perhaps your cat slipped outside and ingested a mouse or bird containing parasites that can cause vomiting and diarrhea.

Cornell Scientist to Study Commercial Raw Meat Diets

The Food and Drug Administration has awarded Anil Thachil, BVsc, Ph.D., in the Department of Population Medicine and Diagnostic Sciences at Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine a grant to investigate the quality of commercial raw meat diets for pets.

Cat Treats Cause Obesity

When your cat is happy, you are happy. When your cat has delicious chewy treats, he is usually pretty happy. But cat owners oft forget that their furry friends only need about 200 calories a day. At about 1.5 calories per piece, a single handful of Meow Mix is over 25 percent of your cat's daily intake.

Should They Regularly Feed Their Adult Cat Cows Milk?

I have a 12-year-old calico kitty who eats a regular diet of commercial fish cat food and some assorted cat food pates. She also loves whole milk, and we give it to her after her meals on a daily basis. A friend of mine told me that I should not give her milk, as this can be harmful. Is this true?

Looking Beyond the Ingredient Label

In our quest to eat healthy food, we often extend that enthusiasm to our cats. We evaluate their diets with the same scrupulous care we give our own, but commercial cat food can still remain somewhat of a mystery. We question if preservatives are safe. Should we avoid genetically modified ingredients? What about artificial coloring?

Those Lovely Lilies? Theyre Lethal

A touch of green around the house during a long, cold winter provides a reminder of spring and creates a festive mood for the holidays. Although plants like lilies are lovely, the effects on a cat who ingests them are decidedly not. In the case of lilies of the Lilium species, cats can suffer potentially fatal kidney failure.

The Benefits of a Higher-protein Diet

Conventional wisdom has long held that cats need less protein as they age. The truth is exactly the opposite, says Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Nutrition at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine. “What we realize in geriatrics is that nobody pays much attention to muscle mass. We’re starting to realize you lose muscle mass as you age — human, dog, cat. You can’t reverse it,” he says. “You have to lift weights to maintain current muscle mass, but it’s hard to get a cat to lift weights.”

Singles Turn to Pets for a Sense of Family

An intriguing trend has developed among singles in the U.S. Single people — men particularly — are becoming pet owners at rates greater than families. They’re “turning to pets for love and a sense of family,” according to a survey by the American Veterinary Medical Association. In a five-year period, pet ownership among the never married, widowed and divorced grew 16.6 percent. Excluding people who never married, growth in pet ownership among singles rose 17.7 percent during this same period.

Short Takes: June 2013

Obesity among pets in the U.S. continued to climb in 2012, with the number of overweight cats reaching an all-time high. Veterinarians reported that 58.3 percent of their feline patients — up from 55 percent over the previous year — were overweight or obese in the sixth annual survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). Given the cat population of 74.1 million in this country, that equals about 43.2 million cats, the association says. Surprisingly, the survey also revealed a “fat gap,” according to APOP founder Ernie Ward, DVM. When veterinarians asked owners to describe their fat cats’ body condition as too thin, normal, overweight or obese, 45.3 percent said normal.

The Biggest Mistake in Giving Treats

Treats provide welcome rewards for good behavior, but their overly generous use can contribute to obesity. One reason is that owners don’t count treats as calories. “But the bigger problem is a multiple-person household in which every time someone walks by, they give the cat a treat,” says Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Nutrition at the Cornell University College of Veterinary Medicine.

Ask Elizabeth: September 2012

I work at a large no-kill animal sanctuary with special-needs cats. Often when one becomes ill and stops eating, we tempt him or her with people food like baby food or boiled chicken. I have heard a lot of conflicting things about feeding cats baby food or straight meat. Someone recently told me that a good all-meat baby food and straight chicken are nutritionally complete, but I have read in a few places that cats need other nutrients like taurine and vitamins A and D or they will get very sick. Does straight meat provide full nutrition for cats? In the wild, how do cats get full nutrition if meat does not provide it all? What is the best kind of food for our dear kitties?

Short Takes: September 2012

Biologists at the Royal Veterinary College in London may have discovered the reason for the cheetah’s record as the fastest living land mammal. Researchers at the college’s Structure and Motion Laboratory compared the cheetah’s gait to that of racing Greyhounds, whose speed tops out at 37 miles per hour. The big cats have been clocked at 64 miles per hour. “Cheetahs and Greyhounds are known to use a rotary gallop [in which the limbs fall in circular sequence around the body] and physically they are remarkably similar, yet there is this bewitching difference in maximum speed,” says researcher Alan Wilson, Bsc., Ph.d.