Home Food Page 6


Considering A Homemade Diet?

Over the past half-century or more, the American pet food industry has worked hard to provide nutritionally sound, affordable and readily available canned and dry cat food. The nutritional contents of these foods are based on the nutrient requirements of cats as published by the National Research Council and/or the Cat Food Nutrient Profiles recommended by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). The feed control officials of the various states and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration monitor the quality of all commercial cat food products.

Why Is Your Cat Such a Finicky Eater?

Cats have earned the reputation for being “finicky,” and this is partly due to physiological factors that cause some foods to be less palatable than others. Like you, your cat senses taste using taste buds, which reside in the surface of the tongue. Within the taste bud a bundle of “gustatory cells” are contained in a small spherical pocket. The taste bud extends from an opening at the surface of the tongue through to deep within the tongue. The gustatory cells are in close contact with fine nerve endings leading into nerves within the tongue.

Are Prescription Diets Necessary?

Trying to adjust your cat’s diet because of a serious medical condition is undoubtedly a good idea. But experts insist that there is a right way and a wrong way to go about it. Some problems may respond readily to a dietary adjustment, while other problems can be more vexing and require treatment aside from nutritional changes.Firstly, remember that therapeutic diets do not cure diseases. They can alleviate clinical abnormalities on a temporary basis, and alleviating these abnormalities can certainly help our beloved pets feel better and give them a higher quality of life.

Cat Food Labels: What To Look For

Unless he’s acting in a TV commercial, your cat isn’t really able to ask for his favorite brand of food by name. If he’s like most feline companions, he’s dependent on you to bring home a can or package of food that will taste good, and also be safe and wholesome. He will also rely on you to feed the correct amount to meet his nutritional needs. To do that, you’re going to have to understand cat food labels.

Short Takes: November 2011

Fish and flaxseed oil are excellent sources of n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), and both have become popular dietary supplements. These fatty acids can modulate the immune response, and have been used to address canine skin conditions. However, the effects in cats have been relatively unknown. This study (“Dietary fish oil and flaxseed oil suppress inflammation and immunity in cats,” Veterinary Immunology and Immunopathology, 2011) investigates the responses in cats to fish or flaxseed oil.

Understanding the Finicky Eater

You think to yourself: "Whats the matter with my cat?" For the second time this week, your cat has barely touched his food. You begin to worry if hes sick - or merely sick of the usual mealtime fare. Healthy cats will occasionally eat less or skip a meal, but it isnt normal for a cat to consistently refuse food. Generally, cats are content eating the same food over and over again. But if your cat refuses to eat for several meals in a row, it should be a cause for concern.

Providing Good Cat Care on a Budget

With the economy struggling, its comforting to know that are plenty of ways to defray the cost of owning a cat without compromising your pets well-being. In fact, some of the most effective strategies can actually benefit your cat. According to Jodi Korich, DVM, former director of Partners in Animal Health at Cornell Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine, "One of the best ways to save money on your pets health is to pay attention to early disease detection and preventive health care." Just like oil changes and preventive maintenance result in fewer repair bills for your car, she says, regular check-ups and early intervention will save you money in the long-run.

Charges in Melamine Pet Food Recall

ChemNutra Inc., a Las Vegas-based ingredients broker, pleaded guilty on June 16 to federal charges of distributing tainted wheat gluten that led to the mass pet food recalls of 2007. The charges stem from a February 2008 indictment that alleged ChemNutra imported more than 800 metric tons of melamine-contaminated wheat gluten from China between November 2006, and February 2007, then sold the product to various pet food manufacturers.

A Health Checklist to Perform at Home

The owner is the veterinarians eyes and hands away from the office," explains Fred Scott, DVM, PhD, interim director of Cornells Feline Health Center. For this reason, it is important to be familiar with the steps involved in doing an at-home mini-physical examination on your cat. This should supplement your cats twice yearly trips to the veterinarian. Performing an at-home physical examination is much easier than you might think; in fact, Dr. Scott points out, the examination should be a normal extension of the regular attention you give your cat.

Ten Ways to Go Green

It should come as no surprise that Mother Nature is on the verge of taking a permanent sick day. After all, harmful climate changes due to greenhouse gases, air and water pollution, and the destruction of natural habitats are putting our planet and its inhabitants - both two- and four-legged - in peril. Hopefully, many of us have begun to make some changes in our daily lives to help reverse the damage done to, well, everything. But what role can our cats play in being good stewards of our beleaguered planet? There are many practical ways to reduce your felines carbon pawprint, which include switching to a corn or wheat-based cat litter and recycling cat food containers instead of throwing them in the trash. Get a jump start on Earth Day (April 22) by incorporating the following tips into your daily routine. Start out slowly if you wish by trying one or two new tips each week. Encourage your friends, family members and co-workers to join in your quest for a sustainable future. Youll find that its not only fun and easy to "go green," but youll see that you can make a positive and lasting impact on our world, which will please Mother Nature.

Short Takes: 12/08

What a year it was for pet food recalls. Who would have thought, in January 2008, that by years end more than 100 brands of dry cat food and dog food from just one plant in Pennsylvania would be recalled - not for making pets sick, but for a possible link to human cases of infection with Salmonella enterica? So how can the average cat owner make sure not to miss an important food recall? One way is to periodically check the "Recalls & Safety Alerts" section of the U.S. Food and Drug Administrations Web site: www.fda.gov. While youre there, sign up for Email updates. Theres no telling what 2009 will bring.

The Rising Cost of Pet Food

Its no secret that gas prices are on the rise. So is just about everything else, including pet food. The U.S. Bureau of Labors Consumer Price Index reports that pet food prices for the second quarter of 2008 rose by eight to nine percent. While thats not as much of an increase as milk or gasoline, consumers are still seeing the most significant price increase in pet food in years. What gives?"If you look at the rising cost of pet foods, its all because of the cost of grains," says Joseph Wakshlag, DVM, PhD, assistant professor of Clinical Nutrition at Cornell Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine. "All of the grains such as corn and rice that are used to make pet food have gone up in price, so pet food prices had to rise as well. And that cost has to be passed on to the consumer." Pet owners like Teri Grohl have noticed. Grohl, an administrative assistant for a high-tech company, spent a portion of her $600 stimulus check on food and cat litter for her three cats, ages 12, six and two.