Plenty of people deserve credit for helping me to locate resources for my continuing lay education on feline nutrition. Many were extremely generous with their time as I initially assembled the open letter to veterinarians, going out of their way to help share information on feeding cats properly. The online tutorial on foodmaking and other parts of this website devoted to caring for cats were enriched by ideas from many people.
Others have taken up the baton and begun to spread the word more widely in ways that make my heart sing. While none of them are responsible for any of my goofs, they deserve mention for how much they have helped and continue to support me along the way. They include:
- My husband, who not only assisted with the tedious job of snail-mailing my original open letter to hundreds of clinics and universities when I first got a bug in my bonnet on this subject in 2002, but who also: provides constant encouragement for my many weird pursuits; offers ample moral support when I’m inundated with periodic ill-informed or even nasty emails that I often run out of patience to answer; hasn’t blinked an eye about the time and money that this site consumes; and is an enthusiastic cat foodmaking partner thus halving the time it takes to prepare it. No one is a faster chicken-skin-ripper-offer than he is. And pity the fool meat grinder that balks at a large turkey bone when he’s at the controls. Thanks, sweetie.
- Scores of members of the Feline IBD egroup, who were an extraordinarily valuable inspiration to innumerable people whose cats suffer with the same malady as my cat did. Without that group, and specifically without its long-suffering list owner, Lee Ellis I would quite likely never have sought out the answers that gave my beloved cat Duke a second shot at a quality life. Much obliged, Lee.
- Dr. Lisa Pierson, a California veterinarian who works unbelievably hard to save countless cats from misery, pain, and abuse through tireless and often heartbreaking rescue work. Dr. Pierson keeps me on the straight and narrow when it comes to interpreting and deciphering the professional literature on feline nutrition. She translates her compassion for animals into action every day, working her heart out to rescue, spay and neuter, love, and find good homes for cats. Dr. Pierson has her own terrific, information-packed website on feeding and caring for cats that everyone should read. Big gratitude coming your way, Dr. P.
- Michelle Bernard, whose book Raising Cats Naturally, is my most often-used reference aid on caring for cats gently and feeding them right. My copy of her book is so worn, dog-eared, and marked-up that I think I need another copy. Michelle is a very gifted writer who did cat caregivers an incredible favor by re-dissecting the work on home-prepared diets and going back to original source material on feline nutrition. Really, you should have this book. My hat is off to you, Michelle.
- Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, who is not only the country’s foremost veterinary expert on feline diabetes and the author of a groundbreaking book on cat care that takes on the corrupt, dominant paradigm in the way so many of us feed or cats, but who has also taken time from her busy practice to offer helpful guidance and sanity checks to yours truly more than a few times. Dr. Hodgkins took a courageous position at US Senate hearings in 2007 on the pet food recall and undoubtedly raised more than a few eyebrows among her peers. She rocks. Thanks Dr. H.
- Dr. Andrea Tasi, our veterinarian. It took me 26 years to find a vet like her, but she was worth the wait.
- Terri Grow, one of the great unsung heroines in the field of animal health. Until she shifted her work to focus to working directly with pet owners, veterinarians, and the pet food industry as an advocate for animal health, her retail store in Northern Virginia, PetSage, embodied proof that it’s possible to sell pet food with profound integrity and deep dedication to animals.
- Margaret Gates, who translated her incredible passion for feline nutrition education into a movement and website that knocks the socks off my paws. Check out the Feline Nutrition Education Society (FNES) and you’ll see what I mean. Go FNES!
- Lynette Ackman, a deeply caring person who was the President and co-founder of the not-for-profit Feline Outreach, Inc, an organization that was dedicated to providing caregivers with the educational and financial assistance to empower them to keep their cats
More than a few non-people are more than worthy of mention, most particularly Duke and Nettie, whose lives bracketed the creation of and inspired this website. They left an indelible mark of love of on my heart.
A kind-hearted, easygoing, and breathtakingly handsome cat who struggled with IBD for six years before I finally got wise and figured out how to feed him.
I am grateful for what his illness taught me about feeding cats, and thankful for how he helped guide me, patiently, to make him well again as we tried an endless array of diets and every conventional trick in the book. It took six years for me to finally get wise, and I take comfort in knowing the next 10 years of his life were healthy, leaving him free to pursue his love of eating, the humans he cared for, and his adopted sister, Nettie.He was and will ever remain the inspiration for this website; I like to think that Duke’s spirit sits perched on my shoulder when I answer emails and he is always in my heart. If you found this website helpful, it’s entirely because of this marvelous being, Duke. We love you all the time, Dukie-boy.
NETTIE THE WONDERCAT
A petite package of spirited, unpredictable, sassy cat. She was sweet. She was a firecracker. Made of love, that one.
She brought a big fat smile to our faces every single day. She was a reliable supervisor and taste tester of raw food preparation in our house. Nettie wouldn’t consider letting anything but raw food pass over her carnivore lips. She kept us on our toes for 16 years.
The very moment we thought we could predict what she’d do next, she’d shift gears and go in a new direction. It was like having a new Nettie every single day. We said our farewell, with profound sadness but deep faith in the Light that she is and always will be, in early March of 2011. Thank you, Nettie-girl. We presume you made at least a short detour along your way to clean Duke’s head and ears, like you always did here. We miss seeing that. We miss you. And we will love you always. Godspeed.
WISEST WONDERFUL WILSON THE DUDE
Wilson, a.k.a., Mr. Wonderful, joined our family in March 2011 and dove straight into our hearts.
We got mighty lucky with this boy. And we are so grateful he came into our lives. He is polite, cunning, calm, and wise. I’m wild about him. He was four years old and living in foster care when my eyes first met his and I saw that brilliant smudge of white on the left side of his mackerel tabby nose. I was hooked.
He needed a home, but not nearly as much as I needed a cat just like him. He settled in so quickly it made my head spin.
He blessed us by proving that switching a cat over to raw food doesn’t have to be even the smallest hassle. Wilson is, in every way, a miracle. He’s so intelligent he concerns me. I’m not certain I’m good enough for him – but he humors me. I’ve no doubt that this cat understands sacred geometry.
His lesson to us is that infinite patience brings immediate results. After a less than stable start in life, he landed with a beautiful family in foster care who gave him everything he needed to begin his new life. The foster family also showed infinite patience with me as I waited for the right time to bring this fellow to his forever home.
Oh he’s just Mr. Wonderful.
SIDNEY-BEANS THE GOOFY LOVE-BUG
Sidney-Beans (aka, “The Beans”) joined the party in May 2011. It was clear that Wilson craved a playmate. And we apparently craved more time in the kitchen making cat food.
He’s a riot. He’s had an easy ride his entire life and still he freaks out at the sight of repeating horizontal lines, feigns terror when he sees me carrying a hanger, or spies a stray sock on the floor. Yet despite all this, he is fearless with visitors. He loves everyone who comes in the door. When house guests stay, he sleeps around a lot, even with strangers.
He’s over-the-top affectionate. And he’s testimony to a cat’s instinctive love of raw food. He’s cute as a bug and never met a soul he didn’t think was worth knowing better. I learn a lot from Sidney-Beans.
And we love him to bits.