Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cat Food Fights

Hooray! Another Cats On Tuesday!

I've been delving into cat food issues recently. It's a fascinating topic. For example, there are the stories about rendering plants putting road kill and euthenised pets into pet food as well as dozens of other products. And there are the periodic scandals about pet food that isn't quite what the label says it is.

Traditional all fish or all liver cat diets also come with problems.

Cats that eat too much fish can suffer from taurine deficiency and lose their eyesight. Too much fish can also lead to Vitamin E deficiency and cause a killer condition called steatitis or yellow fat disease.

Cats who eat too much liver can overdose on vitamin A. However, this study from the cat diet researchers at the University of California point out that cats are unusual in that even a diet heavy in liver for 3 years doesn't lead to the sort of toxicity you'd expect from other mammals.

But the most interesting thing I've read in a while is a study sponsored by Hill's pet food that shows that urinary tract problems are associated with cats who eat too many dry foods. The researchers recommended wet food is much better for kitties.

A pal whose kitty has these problems tried using apple cider vinegar to cure her pet. But when I spoke to a vet about this she said she has not heard of any scientific studies. Also, the vet thinks it could work IF the problem is caused by urine that's too alkaline. BUT as problems can also be caused by urine that's to acidic, apple cider vinegar could also make matters worse in some cases.

Well, I'm going to keep on reading. Also, a Katz Tales piece about this issue will be out in the Star this or next Saturday. Sorry I can't be more specific, with the change in economy everything is a little upside down.

And in case any of you are into this subject, here are some awesome links:

Pottenger’s Cats A summary of what Pottenger discovered in the 1930s about raw and cooked meat diets and milk diets for cats.

Obligate Carnivore
Check out what other animals must eat meat to live. There are a lot of obligate carnivores around, including tigers, crocodiles, civets, and hawks. Although penguins and all ocean mammals eat mostly fish, they too are classed in this group.

2007 Pet Food RecallsBaby milk wasn't the only stuff to be contaminated by melamine. Check out how thousands of pets died from melamine tainted pet food.

Outcry Over Pets in Pet Food
A typical article about the practice of boiling down euthanized dogs and cats for industrial fat and protein and recycling it as other products, including pet food.

Tainted food outbreaks won't go away: safety regulatorsA refreshingly honest statement about the business of fake food.

Selecting Nutritious Pet Foods
Information by David A. Dzanis, D.V.M., Ph.D., DACVN Division of Animal Feeds, Center for Veterinary Medicine on what cats need in their food.

Food and Drug Administration/Center for Veterinary Medicine Report on the risk from pentobarbital in dog food
This study discovered the pentobarbital in dog food doesn't come from euthenised dogs and cats in dog food but from euthenised cattle.

Management of Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease
A study sponsored by Hills takes a look at wet pet food versus dry pet food and discovers wet food prevent urinary tract problems.

The Carnivore Connection to Nutrition in Cats
Idiosyncratic nutrient requirements of cats appear to be diet-induced evolutionary adaptations

Excellent studies of what cats need in terms of nutrition but as these are scientific papers they are rather technical. Worth going through though!

Evaluation of effects of dietary carbohydrate on formation of struvite crystals in urine and macromineral balance in clinically normal cats
Urinary tract disorders paper.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Animal Ethics

Dog Talk is out in print version of Weekender in the Malaysian national daily The Star on Saturday.

As everyone is horrified by the story of the dog pound people at DBKL in Malaysia who beat cats to death and break dogs' necks and drag them around until they died, I've written about animal ethics.

I've written about animal culture and ethics mainly because I'm too bloody angry to write what I think about the monsters at DBKL. If I were rulers of the universe, there would be no mercy for those creatures. So I guess it's just as well I don't have that type of power.

If you're interested in animal cognition, emotion and culture, take a look at the piece, and then check out the other resources at the end of this post.

Also, this week's candidate for adoption is Ben (pictured right).

Ben started life on the streets. When he was knocked down by a car, he was rescued and sent to Friends Furry farm. Now Ben is 1 year old, castrated, vaccinated, dewormed and totally healthy, he needs a good home.

Ben is a very playful and energetic. He loves people and female dogs but he’s not keen on male dogs.

If you want to adopt Ben please email sabrinayeap@gmail.com or sms to 016-6319018.

Limited Preview of FANTASTIC book by Google Book The Emotional Lives of Animals by Marc Bekoff and Jane Goodall (2007).

Limited Preview of FANTASTIC book by Google Book "Chimpanzee Politics" by Frans de Waal.

Animal Intelligence, a 1911 classic by Edward L. Thorndike that's worth a read.

Animal Intelligence, the latest research reported.

Wikipedia Animal Cognition, good starting point for research.

Elephant dies of grief

Mama gorilla won't let go of her dead baby

Animals that kill their young

Monday, February 16, 2009

COT Roman Fuzz

Most cats sit bolt upright when they have a drink of water. Target lies down and slurps happily in a position of comfort. He looks just like a Roman gentleman.

Au looks at him and I can see our senior cat thinking that our kitten is totally decadent. But it does look comfy.

I'm a bit early this week because I have meetings all day tomorrow. Happy Cats on Tuesday and catch up with you all soon.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

No Tales or Talk This Weekend

There will be no katz Tales or Dog Talk in Weekender, The Star this weekend. The next Dog Talk is out in print version of Weekender in the Malaysian national daily The Star on Saturday 21st February.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

COT Twisty Au

Au is lying on the sofa, back paws curled one way, front paws curled another and his spine as twisted as a pretzel. If I tried this, I'd need a surgeon to unwind me.

Cats are twisty people!

Happy Cats On Tuesday. For more, check out Gattina's page.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

COT Cute Kittens

Tales is out tomorrow! Saturday in the print edition of The Star.
Target is a year and a half old now, but although he's technically a man-cat (and incidentally just as tall as Au) I still think of him as a kitten.

Target behaves like a baby too. He has a waddly walk, a tiny baby meow, and begs to be picked up and cuddled constantly. When he's in bed, he leans up against me and paddles his paws in my hair.

Au looks on at Target's baby ways with superior disgust. Au is a very grown up cat who doesn't tolerate mushy stuff. But when Target and I are having a fuzzy session, I can see that glint of relief in Au's eyes that says, "Glad that's not me!"

Here is one of Target's baby pictures. This was him on his second day with us, being introduced to a new toy: a spray of wild grass.

I'm not sure if Katz Tales is out in the Star Weekend section this week, The schedule is messed up and I won't be told if it's on or off for another day or so. However it falls out, I'll amend the top of this post with a note.

Happy Cats on Tuesday. For more, visit Gattina.