Essays and Insights on Cats

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...

Many Common Lilies are Poisonous to Cats

Many Common Lilies are Poisonous to Cats

I'm compelled to remind folks about this important fact, having recently heard some new and very heartbreaking stories from people who suddenly lost their beloved cats recently because they simply did not know how poisonous many lilies are to cats. Many types of...

Don’t Starve a Fat Cat

Don’t Starve a Fat Cat

Please oh please - never starve a fat cat. Getting a fat cat to lose weight isn't about taking away their food - it's about getting the right food into their diet. Hepatic lipidosis is a condition in which fat accumulates in individual liver cells - it's real risk for...

Decrypting Food Labels 101: Understand Dry Matter Basis

Decrypting Food Labels 101: Understand Dry Matter Basis

Pet food labels are not required to meet the same standards as human food labels and lack a good deal of consumer-friendly, useful information. Even the ingredient lists on pet food labels is only moderately useful. One really vital thing to understand? Dry Matter...

Dry Food Accounts for Most Contamination Disasters

Dry Food Accounts for Most Contamination Disasters

A direct quote from Dr. Lisa Pierson's fantastic website. She sums it up better than I ever could. I don't think that a single cat or dog caregiver in the US is not aware of the thousands of cats and dogs that suffered tremendously and died - or have been left with...

Ingredient Splitting

Ingredient Splitting

It's good to get a little educated about "ingredient splitting" tactics on food labels. Ingredients in pet food are listed on the label in descending order by weight - and while this means you should always look for meat as a first ingredient in a diet for a...

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The Raw Feeding World and Continuous Learning

The Raw Feeding World and Continuous Learning

There are lots of smart, wonderful, and yes--sane--people out there feeding raw food to their cats. Some are vets. I learned from, and continue to learn from, many of them. Vets and lay people alike! I continue to benefit from feedback on raw feeding from website...

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...

Reluctant Raw Eaters

Reluctant Raw Eaters

So you want to make the switch to a raw diet, but you're not sure if your cat will eat it.  Maybe you offered raw food and your cat ate it with gusto once, then reverted back to pleading for kibble. "Nice little novel experience you offered me there, staffer, that was...

Feline Disease

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...

Feline IBD

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Litter Boxes

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Loving Cats

Remembering Nettie

Remembering Nettie

 One year ago, tomorrow, I said a very difficult goodbye to Nettie. She's come to mind so much lately - though not so much with sadness about how very hard that day was a year ago, but with gratitude for what she taught me, and continues to teach me, about the...

One Cat’s Smooth Transition to Raw

One Cat’s Smooth Transition to Raw

Wilson has been in the house a little over 48 hours. It looks like the universe sent me one of those "easy" cats to transition to raw. The trick was that he was willing to eat canned food which suggested he was not averse to textures that are different from crunchy...

Introducing . . . Wilson

Introducing . . . Wilson

Meet Wilson. He is about 4.5 years old (we think?) and was living for a short time with an amazing and deeply caring foster family. I met him a few weeks ago by pure happenstance and was instantly charmed and intrigued - despite being strongly committed to not being...

Making Cat Food

What it Really Costs to Make Cat Food – Not So Much!

What it Really Costs to Make Cat Food – Not So Much!

Dr. Lisa Pierson of catinfo.org - who is much more of a numbers person than I am - has on her website an awesome, detailed breakout of what it costs to make homemade raw cat food. Many folks are understandably dubious about the price of doing it themselves and, to be...

Getting Back the Chunky Value

Getting Back the Chunky Value

I love what feeding a balanced, raw diet does for cats. But everything we do that isn't exactly what Mother Nature intended has consequences. Like, for instance, the act of grinding the food. I don't see a way around that - in order to feed a nice balance of meat,...

Merci Beaucoup, Martine!

Merci Beaucoup, Martine!

A huge shout-out and meow of sincere gratitude to an amazing and very generous website visitor, Martine Potier, who has kindly translated the "Foodmaking" page of catnutrition.org into French. Vous etes le melileur, Martine! A friendly reminder that because this...

Feline Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Disease Page Available in Korean

Periodontal Disease Page Available in Korean

I think I must have the most generous website visitors on the planet.  Eunyoung Lee and Eunsoo Lee, who have been translating so many pages of this website, just finished a full translation into Korean of the page on periodontal disease.  A big heaping plate of thanks...

Carnivores Through and Through

Carnivores Through and Through

Our cats are carnivores in all their parts. Honoring that truth helps keep them from getting obese and sick. Look at the beautiful TEETH of a cat! Those lovely, sharp, prominent canines are there for stabbing. The entire structure of a cat's mouth is designed to shear...

Getting Back the Chunky Value

Getting Back the Chunky Value

I love what feeding a balanced, raw diet does for cats. But everything we do that isn't exactly what Mother Nature intended has consequences. Like, for instance, the act of grinding the food. I don't see a way around that - in order to feed a nice balance of meat,...

Pet Food

Pet Food Ingredient Labeling Sleight of Hand

Pet Food Ingredient Labeling Sleight of Hand

Beware the (legal) sleight of hand with pet food ingredient labeling. As we noted recently, pet-food labeling rules dictate that ingredients be listed by decreasing weight, or predominance, in the food.  But "ingredient splitting" is a way to include a lot of grain...

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...

AAFCO Doesn’t Regulate or Certify Pet Foods

AAFCO Doesn’t Regulate or Certify Pet Foods

AAFCO may not be what you've been thinking it is. The "100 percent nutritionally balanced and complete" claims on processed cat food that are based solely on meeting AAFCO industry standards are far from a robust standard for nutritional excellence that supports...

Urinary Tract

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Veterinarians

How Do We Change the Veterinary Paradigm?

How Do We Change the Veterinary Paradigm?

In many ways, veterinarians are on the front lines of this "lead the change on the collective bad habits in how we feed our cats" thing. They are the first line of defense against the dominant paradigm that implies, “Dry food is fine, it’s nutritionally complete, and...

Veterinarians and Nutrition: It’s Not What You Think

Veterinarians and Nutrition: It’s Not What You Think

Are you confident that your vet is well-trained to give nutritional advice? That your vet has critically reviewed the science provided by pet food manufacturers? How much study of nutrition do vets get in vet school? "It doesn't feel like enough," said Amy Cheung, a...

Be Informed, Not Intimidated

Be Informed, Not Intimidated

The standard rejoinder I heard years ago and continue to hear from many vets goes like this: many homemade diets, including all meat diets (whether raw or cooked), are "highly unbalanced and are likely to be deficient in key nutrients unless properly supplemented."...

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