Pet health care: Treating and preventing pet illness – Part 3

Owning a lion or tiger is an interesting and challenging proposition, until they start peeing on the furniture or scratching the furniture. How do you tell a leopard, “No!” ?

I’ve had 300 cats in the last few months and it’s just about as impossible to tell them “No!”. Oh, you won’t be seeing me on the news as the crazy cat collector, I own an animal rescue and it’s been a very busy year.

I also consult on animal behavior and nutrition. If you are keeping a cat, you are as close as it gets to owning a magnificent tiger, panther, leopard or other breathtaking feline wildlife than you may think.

Cats are far less domesticated than canines, with ancient instincts still very much in place today as they were 5,000 years ago. It may be hard to believe as you gaze at Fluffy laying there on his back, all fours straight up in the air and at least a little overweight, but it’s true.

First used by humans to assist in hunting, they later became part of the home and considered domesticated. We’ve bred them and designed them, coming up with some gorgeous looking specimens, but we’ve never truly made them ours.

What we’ve lost sight of is that cats are true (obligate) carnivores. They receive no nutritional values from anything other than meat or fish. Commercial products advertising cat foods with greens or vegetables are marketing to the human, not the cat. Veterinarians who happen to sell high priced, specialized cat foods are usually just joining the marketing aspect of pet care or simply don’t know any better.

Go ahead, take a look at the ingredients in the food that you’re probably serving. You’ll find that just plain meat or fish isn’t in the top three ingredients. In fact, it’s usually ‘ground yellow corn; brewers rice; chicken by product meal’, which translates to filler+filler+beaks, feet, bones ground up into even more filler. Read the small print below the big print on the packaging too. “Real Chicken (or Beef)” is often followed by “flavor” . What is that? Like a “genuine imitation” ? “Flavor” isn’t real! Sad isn’t it?

The other thing many owners don’t even know is that cats should get a good deal of their hydration from their food. The best way to start with ideal nutrition is to read ingredients on the cans (yes, canned foods are better overall). Name brands are not important, but ingredients are. Meat or fish should be in the first couple ingredients and not plant products. For example, “chicken, chicken liver” or “beef, chicken

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