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Food & Nutrition
A real problem
Over half of cats in the U.S are obese. Obesity causes serious health issues in cats. High calorie and carb diets combined with lack of exercise pork up your feline. The media is saturated with images of obese cats and owners don't have a healthy view of what their cat should look like. Clue: Fat Cats are not cute! Read this blog to see the body score chart for a healthy weight cat.
This is a non-prescription supplement used for calming anxious, shy, nervous behaviors. I would not recommend using it for aggression issues. If your cat is shy, or you're trying to get through a stressful incident such as July 4th, thunderstorms, moving, traveling to the vet, having a party, meeting new people, or new to your home, Zylkene might be just what you need. It is recommended for short term use but there is no problem with long term usage.
My 2 go-to Supplements:
L-Lysine is an amino acid that helps treat upper respiratory infections, conjunctivitis and more. The challenge with viruses is they lay dormant for periods of time and then start reproducing, causing flare-ups. If your cat is in a stressful situation, such as a trip to the vet, these flare-ups can occur. I like the Tomlyn brand because it taste great (to cats - I haven't personally tried it yet.)
Probiotics are important for your cat to maintain a healthy digestive tract. I use the Pro Plan FortiFlora because Tabasco LOVES the flavor of it.
I also use FortiFlora when fostering kittens, because their intestinal tract is so susceptible to bacteria.
Use FortiFlora when your cat is in stressful situations, like changes in your environment (moving, new baby, out of town guests, etc.)
This is a phosphate binder. I use it on Tabasco's food. The white powder has no flavor that I can tell; Tabasco eats his food just fine with this on it. If you have a cat with elevated kidney levels, I highly recommend getting them on this to support the kidneys.
Sometimes your foster kittens or cats need help with healthy stool. Pumpkin acts as a digestive supplement helping with regularity and gas relief. It helps with diarrhea, constipation, anal gland discomfort, and provides stomach relief and reduces indigestion.Tabasco won't eat his food if I put canned pumpkin in it, but he likes the taste of this Organic Pumpkin Powder.
This is a homeopathic stress reliever. It is flower essences and is put on food. I use 4 drops per meal on Tabasco's food - not for emotional stress, but as a support for multiple physical ailments he's going through. Very much like the Feliway Pheromone plug ins, this by itself is not a magic wand to make all your cat troubles go away. But when used in conjunction with other stress relieving strategies, it helps!
If you have to give your cat medication, these Pill Pockets are a great thing to try. It doesn't fool all cats but I have clients who swear by them.
Pilling a cat can cause your cat to avoid you and the unpleasant experience. No matter what you hide the pill in, some cats will eat around it and leave the pill on the floor for you to find later. Pill Pockets is a good masking alternative and worth a try if you're struggling with pilling your cat.
Tomlyn also makes a good pill masker. The great flavor of this gooey paste will often do the trick to fool your cat.
Unlike the pill pocket above, which has a hollow center for placing the pill, the pill masker is a peanut butter textured substance that you mush around the pill.
Pet Houzz Soft Tip Pill Gun is a good tool for "shooting" the pill back into the throat of your cat. If your cat absolutely refuses to take the pill with one of the maskers above, then this might work for you. I hold tilt the cat's head back with my left hand and pry the mouth open with the pinky of my right hand, then pop the pill to the back of the throat. It is a good idea to then gently hold the cat's mouth closed and stroke the neck, or blow a little into their face, this will cause them to swallow. Some cats will sit still, looking as if the pill has gone down and as soon as you leave the room, they'll spit it out onto the floor. Kind of like I did with peas as a kid.
Raw Feeding If you've listened to any of my podcasts, attended any of my seminars or consulted with me, you've heard me preach about the species appropriate benefits of feeding cats raw food. I have been buying my raw meat from a trusted source for about 15 years = Hare Today. Click their logo to the right to visit their online store.
When available, I also buy the freeze dried version of this mix. You can buy it here.
It's important you mix water and additional nutrients into the raw food and Hare Today makes that easy for you with Alnutrin supplement for Cats - buy it here.
Freeze Dried Raw Feeding If you have a compromised immune system and/or don't like the idea of handling fresh raw food, Vital Essentials makes a great, limited ingredient rabbit option for your cat. I use the Mini Patties - note, I feed a larger portion than is instructed on the package - and hydrate them with bone broth and warm water. When I'm traveling, or working away from home, and can't leave out a hydrated meal, I use the Vital Essentials Mini Nibs.
Timed Feeder is often the answer to fixing those annoying 3 a.m. cat wake up calls. Cats in the wild eat 9-10 small meals a day; when you feed your cat 2 times a day it is the equivalent of us eating every 2nd or 3rd day. It is important to feed your cat a minimum of 3 times a day. Often the span from the last feeding to the morning feeding is too much for a cat's stomach and they will attempt to wake you to get you to feed them. This timed feeder is an affordable answer to getting your cat food in the middle of the night. It comes with a cold pack to keep canned food fresh.
Click the graphic to the right for more info and to buy.
"I just wanted to send you an update on how Luka's been doing since switching his food that's in the timer (2 out of 5 meals) to the Vital Essentials rabbit mini nibs. It's only been a month since the switch, and I can't believe how big of a difference it has made. I thought his fur was soft before, but now he's even softer and SO fluffy! Amazing! I've even had friends and family notice a difference."
Rachel B., Cat Behavior Solutions Consult client and Cat Talk Radio listener
Food Puzzle Cats in the wild spend 6 hours a day hunting and when we feed them meals they don't have to work for, pent-up energy builds, which can result in behavior changes. Food puzzles are one of the best mental stimulators you can provide for your cat. We sell a couple in the Behavior Boutique and there are more complex ones like this Catit Digger and Food Tree.
I use these to deliver high value treats to cats in shelters. They work great for you at home if you have a particularly shy cat who is hiding from you. Simply deliver some shaved chicken with these. Hold about 2" from the cat's nose and wait for her to move toward you. If she doesn't, drop the shaved chicken and allow her to eat it when you leave. If done multiple times a day, she will connect you to something yummy and wonderful, which will begin to build trust.