Important and informative articles about cats that you may or may not have thought about before.
NOVEMBER 9, 2016
I used to think I was a dog person, which lasted right up until I adopted a cat. While I’m still a huge dog fan, I no longer believe you have to prefer one over the other. There’s a reason cats are the most popular pet kids in North America!
Yes, cats are nothing like dogs: they are enigmatic, independent, sometimes aloof and always entertaining. Their completely unique natures are, in my opinion, their most endearing feature. It should come as no surprise that in addition to their one-of-a-kind personalities, they also have some pretty exceptional physical features and roles to play in our society. As a veterinarian, writer and cat enthusiast, it pleases me to no end to learn more about these fabulous furballs. Here are just five of my favorite unique cat facts:
How to Know if Your Pet Needs Gluten or Grain Free Cat Food
By Lorie Huston, DVM (Article from Pet, MD)
Choosing a diet for your cat is a task that should not be taken lightly. Grain free and gluten free pet diets have become extremely popular. This popularity has mirrored the appearance of similar products for people. These diets are particularly helpful for people that have celiac disease, intolerance to glutens in general, or allergies to wheat.
Many pet owners choose to mimic their own food choices when choosing a food for their cat. With the increase in the number of people choosing to consume a grain free diet, pet food manufacturers have recognized that similar pet diets are attractive to pet owners. The popularity of these diets has led to an increase in the number of grain free and gluten free diets available for pets.
Are these diets the best choice for your cat? How do you know if your cat needs a grain free or gluten free diet?
Grain Free Versus Gluten Free Cat Food
Let’s start by discussing the difference between a grain free and a gluten free diet. Grain free cat foods are, as the name implies, diets that do not contain grain. Gluten free cat food, on the other hand, may or may not contain grain as an ingredient. Gluten is the protein that is found in specific types of grain, namely wheat, barley, and rye. Gluten free cat food is, of course, free of these proteins. However, not all grains contain gluten. Therefore, gluten free cat food may or may not be grain free, while grain free cat food will always be gluten free.
Does My Cat Need a Grain Free Diet
Most cats do not actually require a grain free or a gluten free diet. But how do you know if your cat does require one of these diets? To answer that question, let’s take a look at some of the common reasons pet owners choose to feed their cat a grain free or a gluten free diet.
A particularly popular feeding concept that often seems to go hand in hand with feeding grain free pet food is the feeding of a high protein, low carbohydrate diet. High protein, low carbohydrate diets do have their place, particularly in the feeding of diabetic cats. However, it is important not to assume that a grain free diet is a low carbohydrate diet. In fact, some grain free pet foods contain carbohydrate levels similar to or even higher than diets containing grains. In many grain free diets, ingredients such as potatoes replace the grains in the food and often these ingredients have more carbohydrates than the common grains used in pet food. As a result, grain free and low carbohydrate pet foods are not always synonymous with one another.
Another reason that many cat owners choose to feed grain free or gluten free cat foods is a mistaken belief that these diets are the best choice for cats that have food allergies. While food allergies do occur in pets, corn and other grains are not among the most common allergens found in foods. In fact, according to some of the available research, corn is actually one of the least likely sources of food allergy. In one literature review, 56 cats with food allergies were evaluated. Forty-five of the food allergies resulted from eating beef, dairy, and/or fish. Corn, meanwhile, was responsible for only 4 cases.
For cats that truly do have allergies to protein in grains, a grain free diet would be an appropriate choice. The following are symptoms that would be expected in cats that have food allergies (or other types of allergies).
A food trial with a grain free food would be necessary to determine whether the food is beneficial for your cat.
Does My Cat Need a Gluten Free Diet?
For most cats, a gluten free diet is not a requirement. The exception would be the rare cat that has an allergy to gluten. This, however, is very uncommon.
Some gluten in the diet can, in fact, be beneficial for providing some of your cat’s protein needs. However, it is important to know that cats are carnivores and they do need animal-derived protein in their diet. So, gluten or other plant-based protein cannot be the sole protein source in your cat’s food.
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This is the end of the article. If you are looking for a wholesome, healthy and nutritious grain free cat food, we highly recommend Life's Abundance Grain Free for Cats.
Should I Give My Cat a Supplement
By Ashley Gallagher, DVM (Article from Pet MD)
Vitamins and supplements found at health stores and pharmacies are all the rage these days — from multivitamins to specialty supplements that are designed to support specific bodily functions. So does that mean you should also add a supplement to your pet’s daily ration of food to keep him or her healthy? Not only is this not necessarily true for most cats, in some cases it can be harmful.
Commercial pet foods are formulated to meet all the nutrient requirements a cat needs to thrive. Unlike our diets, which vary day-to-day, most cats eat the same food day in and day out. Pet food manufacturers create their diets with this assumption, making any sort of daily multi-vitamin unnecessary. That is not to say that all pet foods are created equal, because there is great variety among each brand of food, which is extremely important to know when choosing a diet for your cat.
The best pet food companies will formulate their diets using feeding trials. This means that they create a food based on a formulation, then actually feed it to cats and monitor their response to the diet via a variety of diagnostic testing. This gives a complete picture as to how each ingredient in the diet comes together in the final product. There are very few companies that actually do this and it is a critical process in developing a complete and balanced diet. The pet food companies that do not perform feeding trials simply develop their diet based on a formula, and package it and sell it without ever feeding it to an actual cat.
Additionally, the better pet food manufacturers will create a diet based on the life stage and lifestyle of the cats they are marketing to. One can imagine that a growing kitten has very different nutritional needs than an adult cat. Many pet food companies only produce foods designed to meet the nutritional requirements for “all life stages,” which means that food is formulated to meet the dietary needs of a puppy and is therefore inappropriate for adult and senior cats.
Once you have chosen a diet that was developed using feeding trials and that is ideal for your cat’s life stage and lifestyle, there are some supplements that you can consider adding based on the particular health needs of your cat. You should always first discuss with your veterinarian any supplements that you are considering giving to your cat. This will ensure there are no complications or health concerns with other medications you are giving or medical conditions your cat has. If you choose a multi-vitamin or specific single nutrient, please be aware that adding these to a complete and balanced cat food could combine with the nutrients already in the food and create toxicity.
Glucosamine and chondroitin are commonly given together to help protect the joints to prevent or slow progression of arthritis. These work to increase lubrication within the joint as well as repair cartilage. They will not eliminate arthritis or correct any structural abnormalities but they can help support the joint function. There are countless joint supplements out there to choose from so be sure to discuss with your veterinarian which one is best for your cat.
Another widely used dietary supplement that has many functions and is a great additive to many foods is omega-3 fatty acids such as those found in fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are a powerful anti-inflammatory for the skin and joints and can help support the function of multiple organs. You should speak to your veterinarian to see if your cat needs additional Omega-3 fatty acids and how much to give.
If you have a senior cat that seems to be not quite as sharp mentally you could consider a supplement to support cognitive dysfunction, also know as dementia. There have been many studies that show antioxidants such as vitamins E and C will protect and repair brain cells. There are also supplements containing compounds targeted at maintaining brain function in cats. A therapeutic veterinary food specifically formulated with high levels of antioxidants to protect a cat’s aging brain would also be a good choice if you notice your senior cat slowing down. During your annual senior exam discuss any concerns you have with your veterinarian and whether there are supplements that may help your senior cat stay mentally sharp.
A high quality, complete and balanced food formulated for your cat’s specific life stage and lifestyle will meet all the essential nutrients to maintain optimal health. There are some additional supplements that address certain medical issues and could improve the health of your cat. It is always best to first discuss any medical concerns you have with your veterinarian and get his or her recommendation for supplements your cat may benefit from. (This is the end of the article.)
If you are looking for a wholesome, healthy and nutritious vitamin supplement, we highly recommend "Life's Abundance Wellness Food Supplement for Cats."