Healthy Cat Food

Welcome to Healthy Cat Food the site for cats, kittens and people too.

Can Healthy Cat Food Contain Preservatives?

In this day and age of the mighty dollar masquerading as king, it becomes more and more difficult to trust businesses who have a vested interest in gaining your sale. As cats can’t talk to us, or perhaps I should say, as we can’t hear what cats are telling us, we don’t have that all important input to know if we are providing our cats with a healthy cat food.

Amazon ImageIf you do a quick search on the internet, you’ll come across practically all pet food manufacturers proclaiming their brand is ‘all natural’, ‘healthy’, ‘holistic’, even ‘organic’, but in every single case they are selling dry food. Just think about it for a minute. Dried food which contains any form of meat just won’t keep at room temperature. Try keeping your steak out of the refrigerator for a few days and see what happens.

So how do pet food manufacturers keep cat food indefinitely at room temperature? The only possible way to do this is to add preservatives. Despite many claims saying there are no preservatives, logic tells you there has to be.

Amazon ImageCooking in itself may preserve meat a little longer than raw meat, but not for weeks, or even years. So what, you may be thinking, I know there are preservatives in some of the foods I eat and I seem to be OK. Surely a few preservatives doesn’t mean I’m not feeding my cat a healthy cat food?

I personally don’t think any preservative is OK. It may appear to be harmless in the short term, but in the long term there will be consequences. But apart from my personal opinion, there are some laws, perhaps rather basic or not well enforced, in almost every country around the world, that protects human food. So all preservatives used in human food has to be considered ‘reasonably safe’ by some standards.

Unfortunately, there are no such safe guards in pet food. Or the laws are even less effectively enforced than the human laws. So the preservatives used in cat food can be the most toxic. Does cat food containing highly toxic preservatives sound like a healthy cat food to you?

Ever heard of formalin? Embalmers use it to preserve dead bodies. Formalin, also known as formaldehyde, is widely used in pet food to preserve it.

You probably haven’t heard of ethoxyquin. That’s a preservative used in the rubber industry. It’s in the tyres of your car. So what on earth is it doing in your cat food? Lets look at ethoxyquin’s history. When factory workers were exposed to it, they exhibited side effects similar to those of agent orange:

  • constant diarrhoea
  • vision disorders including blindness
  • organ failure
  • organ cancers
  • leukaemia

Are you getting a bit concerned? Perhaps your cat is suffering from some kind of organ damage? Here are a few other common preservatives used in cat food to keep it at room temperature indefinitely;

  • sodium nitrite, which gives a nice rosy colour to food and can produce powerful carcinogenic substances known as nitrosamines
  • propyl gallate – is now suspected of causing liver damage
  • propylene glycol used to maintain the right texture and moisture content is used as coolant antifreeze in engines
  • up to 1000 times more salt than occurs naturally

No manufacturer can keep preservatives out of dry cat food if it has a long shelf life. So, if you don’t feed your cat a commercial cat food, what can you feed her?

To my way of thinking, the only sure way of knowing you are providing a healthy cat food is to prepare it yourself. Before you throw your hands up in horror, saying you don’t know how, you don’t have time, that’s where I come in.

I’ve done the research for a balanced, healthy cat food. I’ve made all the mistakes and can show how not to fall into the traps I did. By feeding your cat a healthy cat food, you’ll have fewer trips to your veterinarian and your cat will live longer.

If you liked this article, then I invite you to sign up for my free, weekly ezine on how to improve your health and that of your family, including pets, naturally. Included is a complementary ebook on how to have a healthy cat, starting today. Visit http://www.naturallyhealthycats.com

Cat Nutrition and Making Cat Food at Home

Home-made cat food is one of the healthiest ways you can choose to feed your cat, but only if you do it exactly right. Making nutritionally complete cat food requires a great deal of information relating to what a cat’s dietary needs are and how you can best provide for them.

Amazon ImageProviding your cat with proper nutrition goes a long, LONG way in preventing so many of today’s commonly seen feline diseases. There are many inappropriate “cat diets” available on the pet food market, including veterinary feline diets, and these inappropriate diets are largely responsible for creating a myriad of the health problems that exist in our feline friends.

Cats are obligate carnivores: they are NOT meant to eat dehydrated diets, they are NOT meant to be eating grains, they are NOT meant to be eating significant amounts of carbohydrates, they are NOT meant to eat fruits & vegetables, they are NOT meant to eat significant amounts of seafood, and they are NOT meant to obtain their protein from soy! These unnatural ingredients in dry cat foods (and some wet foods too!) are inflammation inducing and result in a myriad of gastrointestinal disorders, skin reactions, and other health problems in our pet cats.

Also, the dehydrated nature of dry cat food is responsible for the production of highly concentrated urine formation in cats that eat dry diets; studies have proven that cats who eat dry food do NOT drink the equivalent in their daily water intake to cats who eat canned food and hydrate themselves via their diets (canned foods are approximately 75% water content). Chronically highly concentrated urine causes bladder inflammation (idiopathic feline cystitis), kidney, ureteral, and bladder stones, urinary crystals, and predisposes to urinary tract infections. Urinary crystal and stone formation can cause sudden urinary tract obstruction which can be acutely fatal.

As mentioned at the beginning of this page, making your cat a nutritionally complete homemade diet is the best way that you can feed your cat. However, this is a somewhat time-consuming endeavor, and I recognize that not every owner is able to provide their cat with this type of feeding regimen (including myself at this point in time!). As such, I have decided to provide you with a summary (below) of various cat-feeding scenarios from best to worst. If you are unable to provide your cat with a homemade diet, as so many of us are, then scenarios 2 and then 3 are the best ways to feed your cat(s):

FIRST – THE IDEAL CAT DIET

* Nutritionally complete (and plentiful in moisture content!) homemade diet specifically formulated for the feline obligate carnivore: free of vegetables, fruits, grains, soy, seafood, artificial preservatives & flavoring, and toxic packaging contents.

* Owners are able to brush their cat’s teeth to prevent plaque and tartar buildup.

A CLOSE SECOND

* Owners are unable to do a homemade diet, but feed 100% canned cat food that is devoid of soy protein, contains no de-hulled grains, no seafood, and no significant amount of fruits & veggies.

* Owners are able to brush cat’s teeth to prevent plaque and tartar buildup.

Amazon ImageNote 1: While many canned diets don’t contain the unnatural grain and soy products that most dry diets do, some wet foods do possess these ingredients… you must read labels carefully!

Note 2: An alternative to a healthy canned food diet, is a nutritionally complete raw diet (eg. Feline’s Pride) that is partially cooked prior to serving in order to reduce the bacterial load (zapped for 5 – 10 seconds in the microwave: ensure that it’s not too hot before giving it to kitty!).

A CLOSE THIRD

* Owners unable to do homemade diet and unable to brush cat’s teeth, but feed 95% of daily caloric intake through canned food (devoid of soy, de-hulled grains. etc.), and feed 5% of daily caloric intake through dental kibble to help minimize plaque and tartar build-up.

Note 3: If your cat has any gastrointestinal issues, including frequent hairballs, or has any dermatological issues and/or other inflammatory problems, you should consult your veterinarian and discontinue all dry food.

FOURTH – A POOR DIET

* Dry cat food diet, or mostly dry cat food diet.
* Not suitable for a feline (this includes grain-free dry diets as well!).
* You should consult your veterinarian and immediately begin to transition your cat onto a wet food diet, and/or a homemade diet.

Note 4: Just because a dry feline diet is advertised as “grain free” does not mean that it is an appropriate diet for your cat. There are still many shortcomings in dry, grain-free diets, not the least of which is the fact that they are devoid of moisture content!

HOMEMADE FELINE DIETS SHOULD INCLUDE:

* meat source (chicken, rabbit, duck, etc.)
* ground bone from meat source
* water (in addition to the water content in the meat
* fatty acid supplementation
* salt
* vitamin E supplementation
* vitamin B complex supplementation
* taurine (an amino acid) supplementation

Note: Taurine supplementation is crucial because taurine deficiencies lead to serious health problems in cats, and taurine can ONLY be obtained through diet. Cats are unable to create taurine endogenously by using protein building blocks they possess from ingesting other amino acids.

*** Please note that there are many cat food recipes available online that recommend including rice, pasta, or other such carbohydrate sources in homemade cat food. I do not advise supplementing extra carbohydrates (meat already contains carbohydrates) for healthy adult cat diets, particularly from these types of sources because they are unnatural for cats (for instance, pasta is full of wheat gluten) and will defeat much of the purpose of feeding a homemade diet. ***

It is important to know that if you are embarking on creating a homemade diet for your cat(s), it is essential that it be done correctly. Feeding cats just cooked meat does not provide them with a nutritionally complete diet, and will result in nutritional deficiencies. If you are going to feed your cat(s) a homemade diet it must be done correctly. For the best cat food recipes available please refer to the excellent resources listed below.

To read more of Dr. Ko’s articles, please visit http://www.catdoctorko.com

The information provided in this article is for educational reference purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice and care of your veterinarian, nor medical diagnoses or treatments. All questions regarding your cat’s health should be discussed with your veterinarian.

Dr. Ko is a passionate believer in the importance of preventative medicine and educating cat owners about its benefits for their cats. It was this ideal which was the motivation for the creation of the Dr. Ko website.

catdoctorko.com is a brand new site dedicated to providing cat owners with information to help them provide effective and preventative health care for their cats. Within the site, Dr. Ko, a licensed veterinarian, has created Know-How Videos, Cat Health Articles, Ask Dr. Ko tips (in which she answers your cat health questions), information on toxic substances, product recalls, dangerous household items and much more! In addition, the website houses a store filled with products specifically selected for their benefits to optimizing your cat’s quality of life!

Amazon ImageAll of the topics that Dr. Ko writes about are provided by members of her website. To suggest an article topic for Dr. Ko, please visit http://www.catdoctorko.com and set up a membership – it’s fast and free!

Cats Beware! Human Foods That Are Toxic to Felines

 

There are many known foods that are safe for most humans to eat that are very harmful to kitties!

It may come as a surprise that something as seemingly innocuous as an onion or a chocolate bar can be toxic to your cat, but the reality is that many food types contain compounds or have metabolites that are extremely dangerous to cats.

(Metabolites are substances produced by the metabolism, or breakdown, of the ingested food. So, in some instances, the food itself may not be toxic, but once your kitty has digested and processed the substance, some of the resultant products may be toxic to your cat.)

Why do these foods and their metabolites produce toxicity in cats? Every species has different metabolic capabilities, but in general, the two main routes of clearing substances from the body include liver (hepatic) and kidney (renal) excretion pathways. Cat livers are not the same as human livers!

Cats, in particular, have very different hepatic excretion abilities from humans, and are, in fact, considered to be deficient in one of the most important enzymatic pathways that exists; therefore, there are many substances that we humans can metabolise and safely clear from our bodies that cats cannot, and so are highly toxic to cats.

Amazon ImageWe’ve put together a list of all of the common foods that have documented toxicity in cats. These are foods that you should never feed to your cat, and that you should be very careful to keep safely tucked away in cupboards and refrigerators, well out of your agile kitty’s reach.

Foods That Can Be Toxic To Cats:

Chocolate – The very worst culprit! Perhaps one of the most enticing and most dangerous foods in your kitchen (to cats and human waist-lines). While dogs are much more prone to ingesting chocolate than cats, cats do eat chocolate too, and are unfortunately even more sensitive to its toxic components than dogs are!

Chocolate contains both caffeine and theobromine, both of which are called methylxanthines and are very toxic to cats. The amount of methylxanthines in chocolate varies considerably depending on the type of chocolate, but the general rule of thumb is that the darker and more bitter the chocolate, the higher the concentration of the toxic principles.

Chocolate toxicity can cause diarrhea, vomiting, lethargy or hyperactivity, elevated heart rate, tremors, and even death.

Coffee & Coffee Beans – As you have already read above, caffeine is classified as a methylxanthine and is very toxic to your cat.

Symptoms of coffee toxicity will be similar to those listed under chocolate toxicity, and so always be wary of where you have located your coffee mug and your coffee beans! Don’t let your inquisitive kitty try to achieve a caffeine high, because it will have detrimental results.

Onions – While onions are extremely tasty and are quite healthy for human consumption, the opposite is true for cats!

Onions belong to the plant genus, Allium. The toxic principle in onions is N-propyl disulfide, and it damages cats’ red blood cells. The destruction of red blood cells in this manner results in hemolytic anemia, and it occurs if cats eat onion in any form: raw, cooked, or powdered onion.

Clinical signs include vomiting, lethargy, and pale gums.

Garlic – Although garlic is a great asset to human health, the same cannot be said for our kitties!

Garlic is also a member of the Allium genus, and has similar, although less potent, toxic effects as its big brother the onion.
Symptoms of garlic toxicity are the same as listed above for onion toxicity.

Citrus (Orange, Lemon, Lime, Grapefruit) – Citrus fruit make a lovely snack, and are also a tasty flavor addition to any human meal, but citrus is toxic to cats.
Citrus fruits contain essential oils and psoralen toxins that cause vomiting, sometimes light sensitivity (photosensitivity), incoordination, weakness, depression, tremors, and seizures.

Moldy Foods – Moldy, spoiled foods are a danger to everyone in the household, but cats that may snoop around in kitchen garbages are going to be at higher risk for the ingestion of these toxins than human household members.

Moldy foods can contain toxins such as penitrem A, roquefortine C, and verruculogen that are produced by fungi. These toxins can cause vomiting, anorexia, tremors, incoordination, seizures, and possibly death.

Alcohol – Alcohol and kitties should never be mixed! Alcohol toxicity can result in vomiting, incoordination, stupor, depression, and sometimes coma, seizures, and death. Always make sure to keep your wine glass safe out of reach from your kitty.

Avocados – While avocados are considered to be a miracle fruit for humans because of their many health benefits, it is best that you not try and share these benefits with your cat.

Avocados contain a toxin called persin; while persin can cause death due to cardiotoxicity in birds, rabbits, goats, and even in dogs when avocado is ingested in significant quantities, there is no documentation to support that this occurs in cats.

Amazon ImageHowever, there is evidence that avocados will cause gastritis in our feline friends, which may result in symptoms of anorexia, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. And since we cannot be certain that avocados do not cause cardiotoxicity in cats as well, it is advisable to keep these fruits and all guacamole far far away from them!

Grapes & Raisins – While there is not yet any evidence of grape and raisin toxicity in cats at this point, it has been recently discovered that an unknown toxic principle in grapes and raisins can cause acute kidney failure in dogs.

Even though there is no documentation of similar occurrences in cats at this point, since there is much to learn about grape & raisin toxicity, it would be wise to keep your cats away from these tasty little fruits. Until we know more, it is best to err on the side of caution.

To read more of Dr. Ko’s articles, please visit http://www.catdoctorko.com

The information provided in this article is for educational reference purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice and care of your veterinarian, nor medical diagnoses or treatments. All questions regarding your cat’s health should be discussed with your veterinarian.

Dr. Ko is a passionate believer in the importance of preventative medicine and educating cat owners about its benefits for their cats. It was this ideal which was the motivation for the creation of the Dr. Ko website.

catdoctorko.com is a brand new site dedicated to providing cat owners with information to help them provide effective and preventative health care for their cats. Within the site, Dr. Ko, a licensed veterinarian, has created Know-How Videos, Cat Health Articles, Ask Dr. Ko tips (in which she answers your cat health questions), information on toxic substances, product recalls, dangerous household items and much more! In addition, the website houses a store filled with products specifically selected for their benefits to optimizing your cat’s quality of life!

All of the topics that Dr. Ko writes about are provided by members of her website. To suggest an article topic for Dr. Ko, please visit http://www.catdoctorko.com and set up a membership – it’s fast and free.

 

 

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