Essays and Insights on Cats

Chunky Value

Chunky Value

Cats are mighty accommodating to humans who bring them into their homes. In exchange for shelter, food, affection, human love, and lifetime medical care, they are asked to give up a lot of stuff that comes naturally to them: hunting for live prey, reproducing, and...

Fantastic Frankie’s New Home, New Food

Fantastic Frankie’s New Home, New Food

After unexpectedly losing both our wonderful boys, Wilson and Sidney-Beans, in a short time frame between late August and mid-October 2023, I gave away nearly all of my cat supplies. I had this notion that the smartest move was to feel out what possibilities might...

Long Overdue Website Refresh

Long Overdue Website Refresh

You know how in spite of your best intentions to never let that closet or drawer you spent so much time cleaning and organizing get messy again, you open it one day to see it's in overwhelming disarray again? Packed with of stuff that's either no longer relevant to...

Flaxseed Doesn’t Supply EFAs for Cats

Flaxseed Doesn’t Supply EFAs for Cats

Cats require an animal-based source of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs).  Don't let anyone tell you that flaxseed oil or another kind of plant-based EFA source works as well. It doesn't. Your cat is a carnivore and cannot derive all that she needs EFA-wise from PLANT...

Eight Strikes Against Fishy Feeding for Cats

Eight Strikes Against Fishy Feeding for Cats

I count eight distinct 'strikes' against the idea of regularly feeding fish, raw or cooked, to cats. Strike One: Low calcium levels. Whole fish, even with bone, is far too low in calcium for a cat. Remember: if you're making homemade cat food, one of the most...

Sometimes Chicken Isn’t Exactly Chicken

Sometimes Chicken Isn’t Exactly Chicken

It's useful to sharpen your translation skills in understanding what the NAME on the label of a cat food product actually means. You might be surprised to know that: AAFCO rules dictate that a product labeled "chicken food" must have at least 95 percent chicken on a...

Basic Facts About a Cat’s Pancreas and Insulin

Basic Facts About a Cat’s Pancreas and Insulin

A cat's pancreas has two main jobs: 1) making and storing digestive enzymes and fluids; 2) producing and releasing hormones that regulate blood sugar.  The sugar released into the bloodstream from a a cat on a high-carbohydrate diet sends an alarm to the pancreas to...

High Protein Diets and Diabetes

High Protein Diets and Diabetes

Feeding a high-protein/low-carbohydrate diet to diabetic cats can very quickly reduce their overall insulin requirement. So what? If you're changing your diabetic cat's diet to a lower carbohydrate diet (a good idea!), your cat can very quickly go into remission - and...

Chunky Value

Chunky Value

Cats are mighty accommodating to humans who bring them into their homes. In exchange for shelter, food, affection, human love, and lifetime medical care, they are asked to give up a lot of stuff that comes naturally to them: hunting for live prey, reproducing, and...

Fantastic Frankie’s New Home, New Food

Fantastic Frankie’s New Home, New Food

After unexpectedly losing both our wonderful boys, Wilson and Sidney-Beans, in a short time frame between late August and mid-October 2023, I gave away nearly all of my cat supplies. I had this notion that the smartest move was to feel out what possibilities might...

Barriers to Better Food Discussions with Vets

Barriers to Better Food Discussions with Vets

Those of us who are committed to feeding cats better need veterinary allies. Diet, after all, is a big thing to get wrong. It's only natural we'd turn to the presumed experts on the subject to help us sort through the choices. The results of a survey published by the...

Feline Disease

What’s “Normal” BUN for Raw Fed Cats?

What’s “Normal” BUN for Raw Fed Cats?

The studies used to establish the "normal" ranges for BUN (blood urea nitrogen) in cats are based on cats that were not fed species-appropriate high-meat-protein diets. A cat on a healthy, high-meat-protein diet will often have levels that are somewhat higher - i.e,...

Protein Restriction for Kidney Disease

Protein Restriction for Kidney Disease

There are NO studies that demonstrate that restricting protein halts kidney deterioration in a cat. Yet, the typical veterinary-prescribed diet for a cat with kidney disease (CKD, previously called CRF) is a low-protein dry-food diet that contains largely biologically...

Feline IBD

Why No Veggies?

Why No Veggies?

"Some raw diets for cats include vegetables, so why don't you use them?"  In short, because we're feeding obligate carnivores - animals that derive no meaningful nutritional benefit from plant matter. That's why you'll not find ingredients like kale or chard or other...

Duke: 1994-2010

Duke: 1994-2010

Four days ago, with the help of one of the most amazing and compassionate human beings I’ve ever known — our vet — I faced the wrenching, but loving, task of easing my most beloved Duke out of his failing body. Aside from being one of the biggest loves of my life, it...

Litter Boxes

The Cat Litter of My Dreams

The Cat Litter of My Dreams

It's rare that I offer an unsolicited review of a cat product, especially one that has nothing to do with cat food. But I'm jazzed about a product that I stumbled on a few years ago at my fave local holistic pet supply store, PetSage so I'm going for it. If you ever...

Toxoplasmosis, Cats, and Litter Boxes

Toxoplasmosis, Cats, and Litter Boxes

The risk of contracting toxoplasmosis is misunderstood and sometimes overblown. I'm not saying that it isn't a serious concern for women who are exposed for the first time during pregnancy, but it's helpful to look at the facts: The Centers for Disease Control and...

Top Ten List: What I Wish I’d Known Then

Top Ten List: What I Wish I’d Known Then

In no particular order, below is a top ten list of stuff I wish that I had known about long ago. On taking care of, living with, and feeding cats, that is. The Double-Sided Sticky Tape Trick With Furniture. How did I miss this one? Bar none, this is the easiest and...

Loving Cats

Fantastic Frankie’s New Home, New Food

Fantastic Frankie’s New Home, New Food

After unexpectedly losing both our wonderful boys, Wilson and Sidney-Beans, in a short time frame between late August and mid-October 2023, I gave away nearly all of my cat supplies. I had this notion that the smartest move was to feel out what possibilities might...

Rest in Ease, Sidney-Beans

Rest in Ease, Sidney-Beans

Five days ago, on 15 October 2023, just seven weeks after saying an unexpected goodbye to Wilson, his adopted younger brother Sidney-Beans was helped out of his physical body. Another unexpected and unforseen loss that brings another wave of sorrow and shock. While we...

Rest in Light, Wilson

Rest in Light, Wilson

I learned recently that in the Polynesian langauge of Hawai'ian, a word for describing the relationship we have with our animals is not "owner," but kahu. The word doesn't imply ownership of property; it roughly translates as guardian or attendant. One who is...

Making Cat Food

Time Spent Making Cat Food is Well Spent

Time Spent Making Cat Food is Well Spent

"Isn't making cat food time-consuming?" Once you get a groove going and your supplies organized, not really.  You'll also likely spend a whole lot less time (and money) in veterinary clinics.  If you can get a helper, go for it.   Maybe hook up with a local friend and...

Flaxseed Doesn’t Supply EFAs for Cats

Flaxseed Doesn’t Supply EFAs for Cats

Cats require an animal-based source of Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs).  Don't let anyone tell you that flaxseed oil or another kind of plant-based EFA source works as well. It doesn't. Your cat is a carnivore and cannot derive all that she needs EFA-wise from PLANT...

Storing Homemade Cat Food

Storing Homemade Cat Food

  Question: If I make my own cat food, what should I store it in?  Answer: Go for containers that hold just enough food that, once it's thawed, can be used up within a day or two - three days maximum. Personally, I like using pint-sized, sturdy, wide-mouth, glass...

Feline Periodontal Disease

Chunky Value

Chunky Value

Cats are mighty accommodating to humans who bring them into their homes. In exchange for shelter, food, affection, human love, and lifetime medical care, they are asked to give up a lot of stuff that comes naturally to them: hunting for live prey, reproducing, and...

Carnivore Teeth Aren’t Made for Cereal

Carnivore Teeth Aren’t Made for Cereal

You know how when we humans chew there's a back-and-forth and side-to-side action happening with the teeth? The movement that makes it possible for you to jut your lower row of teeth out in front of your upper row of teeth? Or that lets you move the lower jaw left and...

Dry Food Doesn’t Keep Cat’s Teeth Clean

Dry Food Doesn’t Keep Cat’s Teeth Clean

Won't my cat's teeth suffer if s/he's not eating dry food?  Doesn't dry food help clean a cat's teeth?    The short answers are - no, and no.  Quite the opposite in fact. Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins summarized it nicely in her book, noting that even though most cats...

Pet Food

Low Value of Plant Protein to Carnivores

Low Value of Plant Protein to Carnivores

A substantial share of the protein in dry cat food is frequently plant-based. Here's the problem:  Plant based proteins have a lower biological value to obligate carnivores than meat proteins. For pet food manufacturers, obviously, plant proteins cost less because...

Life Stage Foods Folly

Life Stage Foods Folly

There is absolutely no need for "life stage" foods. Or for differently formulated foods for different breeds. As one of my vet friends likes to say, "there are no 'kitten mice,' 'tartar control lizards' or 'senior cat crickets' in the wild."  A kitten eats more food...

Ditching Blind Faith in ‘Prescription’ Diets

Ditching Blind Faith in ‘Prescription’ Diets

A few words from The Soapbox. By design or default, many vets permit the pet food industry to act as their proxy when it comes to nutritional decision-making for their clients. Because diet is a very big thing to get wrong, this can have a serious, negative impact on...

Urinary Tract

Moisture Matters

Moisture Matters

Can we talk about water? Back in my early days of living with cats, I recall a young veterinarian's advice to not bother feeding anything but dry food. "You're wasting money on nothing but water with canned food." Nothing but water? Water is not empty filler: it's an...

Eight Strikes Against Fishy Feeding for Cats

Eight Strikes Against Fishy Feeding for Cats

I count eight distinct 'strikes' against the idea of regularly feeding fish, raw or cooked, to cats. Strike One: Low calcium levels. Whole fish, even with bone, is far too low in calcium for a cat. Remember: if you're making homemade cat food, one of the most...

Veterinarians

Barriers to Better Food Discussions with Vets

Barriers to Better Food Discussions with Vets

Those of us who are committed to feeding cats better need veterinary allies. Diet, after all, is a big thing to get wrong. It's only natural we'd turn to the presumed experts on the subject to help us sort through the choices. The results of a survey published by the...

No Wonder You’re Confused!

No Wonder You’re Confused!

More two decades of running this crazy little website has brought in thousands of questions and comments from many smart, concerned, and discerning site visitors. Since I began using social media as another way of getting the word out, however, the volume of questions...

My Cat Nutrition Guru, Dr. Lisa Pierson

My Cat Nutrition Guru, Dr. Lisa Pierson

Dr. Lisa Pierson, whose acquaintance I was lucky enough to make many years ago when I began sniffing around the whole cat nutrition question, was featured in an extensive interview in 2015 with Dr. Karen Becker. The two discuss Dr. Pierson's accumulated wisdom on cat...

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