B12, also called cobalamin, is one of the vitamins that is crucial for your cat’s health. It plays a key role in keeping your cat’s immune, digestive and nervous system functioning optimally.Continue Reading
Species-appropriate nutrition is the foundation for good health, but even the highest quality diet can benefit from supplementation. Dinovite supplements offer that extra boost of nutrients, vitamins and probiotics to promote a strong immune system, aid digestion, and support healthy skin and a shiny coat.Continue Reading
The immune system is an intricate system of biological processes and structures that protects the body against disease. A healthy immune system is able to recognize and fend off invaders such as viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens. Keeping your cat’s immune system strong will help prevent health problems and protect her against disease.
In order to protect and boost your cat’s immune system, consider the following:Continue Reading
I’m always looking for sources for natural cat products. Today, I’d like to introduce you to iHerb. They’ve been in the natural products market since 1996, and while the name may be misleading, they carry much more than just herbal supplements. They carry a vast selection of natural products ranging from vitamins to grocery to bath and beauty products, including more than 200 products for cats and dogs. iHerb ships to more than 160 countries.
We had a chance to select a number of iHerb products, and with Allegra and Ruby’s help, I picked out a selection of treats, supplements, and even a couple of toys.Continue Reading
There are a lot of supplements for pets on the market, and it can be challenging for cat parents to know not only which ones your cat might need, but which ones are quality products. I’m always on the lookout for quality products and was intrigued when In Clover approached me about reviewing some of their supplements.
I rarely accept supplements for review unless it’s something I’ve already thoroughly researched and/or tried. I won’t use Allegra and Ruby as product testers for products whose claims I can’t verify. After taking a look around In Clover’s website, I was impressed.Continue Reading
Arthritis in cats is a common, but under-recognized condition in senior cats. The signs are often subtle, and can be hard to distinguish – cats can’t complain about their aching joints, so all cat guardians see is a response to pain. Cats with arthritis might avoid the activities they used to enjoy, some may become depressed or change their eating habits, others may simply seem grumpier than usual.
There are multiple modalities to address arthritis pain, ranging from anti-inflammatory medications, acupuncture, and Reiki to supplements.Continue Reading
Sometimes it seems like your cute little kitten is growing up in the blink of an eye. In order to ensure that your kitten grows into a happy and healthy mature cat, it is important to understand what constitutes a healthy lifestyle so your cat can get the most purring, toy chasing and ear scratches out of life.
Aging is a complex biological process that predisposes cats to chronic diseases including behavior changes, limited mobility or kidney malfunction. To help them develop properly as kittens and age gracefully into senior cats, added Omega-3 DHA is a major dietary need for all cats.
Benefits for kittens
DHA is an important building block of the brain and, kittens will experience a sharper nervous system and visual abilities when supplemented as pre-natal kittens and up until the first nine months of life. Daily supplementation of DHA is recommended for pregnant and lactating cats for proper brain and nervous system development of their offspring. Improvement in neurological development will not only better your kitten’s life, but play a significant role in enhancing the bond between the two of you.Continue Reading
If your cat loves fish, he has lots of company! However, it’s really not a good idea to feed fish to your cat, and here’s why.
The primary fish used in cat food are salmon, tuna, and tilefish (ocean whitefish). Let’s look at each of these.
The vast majority of salmon today comes from farm-raised fish. In this form of factory farming, millions of these unfortunate animals are kept in huge, overcrowded pens in polluted coastal waters. They’re fed antifungals and antibiotics to limit the spread of disease, and dyes to make their flesh salmon-colored (otherwise it would be gray). Common water pollutants, such as PCBs, pesticides, and other chemicals, are found in farmed salmon at ten times the amount found in wild fish. These contaminants will be present in any product made with farmed fish, including pet food.
It has recently been revealed that krill, tiny shrimp that are the natural diet of many whales and other marine animals, are being netted in vast hauls, and processed into food for these “franken-salmon,” for their protein as well as their red color. The issues with krill are explained below.
It’s the fish that’s most “addictive” to cats. They love it so much that they may stage a hunger strike by refusing their regular food until they get it!
Tuna and other predatory fish are at the top of the food chain. This means that they may accumulate high levels of heavy metals (including mercury) as well as PCBs, pesticides, and other toxins, by eating smaller fish. The older the fish, the more contamination. The FDA recommends only one serving of albacore tuna per week due to its high mercury levels.
Tilefish (listed on pet food labels as “ocean whitefish”)
are among the worst contaminated fish, along with king mackerel, shark, and swordfish. These fish are so toxic that the FDA advises women of child-bearing age and children to avoid them entirely.
The fish used in canned pet foods is typically whole fish, or leftovers from processing whole fish, deemed unsuitable for human consumption; this includes guts, feces, and bones, which are high in phosphorus—a problem for cats with kidney disease. On the other end of the urinary tract, many sensitive cats develop cystitis (bladder inflammation) and even urinary blockages if they eat any kind of fish at all. Fish and fish meal are both problematic.
A small amount of fish, such as wild caught sardines, used as a flavoring in a properly balanced, fresh meat-based diet, is not a problem, but fish should not be the main course for the cat’s diet.
What about Omega-3 fatty acids?
Aren’t fish and fish oils the best sources of these essential fats for our pets? Indeed, daily Omega- 3 supplementation from a marine source is extremely important for our cats as well as for us. Among many other benefits, Omega 3s fight inflammation, which affects our cats as much as it does us.
Krill is a popular non-fish source for Omega-3 oil. Krill are the major food source for many marine animals, including fish, whales, seals, and birds. Yes, there are a lot of krill in the sea, but the problem is that they are being harvested near critical feeding grounds of the animals that eat them. When even Whole Foods stops selling krill oil, as they did in 2010 due to concerns about sustainability, you know there’s a problem!
Cats do benefit greatly from an Omega-3 marine lipid supplement every day, but as we have seen, fish and krill oils are not the most environmentally friendly choices. Nor are they necessarily healthful. Many fish oils are processed by boiling the oil to separate it from heavy metals and toxins (distillation). Fish oil processing may also include the use of, alcohol, salts, solvents, and deodorizers to disguise the foul smell of the oil—a problem because fish decompose very quickly, turning the oil rancid before it can even be processed.
Additionally, as energy medicine practitioners, quantum physicians, and homeopaths know, the original energetic essence or “memory” of those heavy metals and pollutants, remains “imprinted” in the greasy substance that remains. The Omega 3s that survive, EPA and DHA, may be artificially concentrated in the process. It may be fair to say that the higher milligram values listed on fish oil labels are not necessarily better, as this is not the way they occur in their raw, natural state.
Alternative sources of Omega-3 fatty acids
We need an alternative source of marine lipids for all these reasons, as well as the cautions mentioned for the eating of these fish.
Research suggests that the New Zealand greenlip mussel (perna canaliculus) is our best choice for Omega 3’s. These greenlip mussels (GLM) are raised 100% sustainably. They are very low on the food chain; and have no fins, feet, or faces. GLM are bi-valve mollusks known to be a rich source of 33 fatty acids; 18 of them Omega 3s. GLM contain a unique array of Omega 3s. One of the most fascinating is ETA (eicosatetraenoic acid). ETA, which is not found in any other foods to any measurable degree, has extremely powerful ant-inflammatory properties.
The best scenario is to source a greenlip mussel oil that is organic, cold-extracted, and certified to be free of mercury and other toxins and pollutants. Ideally, choose a GLM marine lipid product which also contains antioxidants with high ORAC values (a measure of antioxidant power), such as cold-pressed, organic grape seed husk extract and/or kiwifruit seed oil—these will naturally deactivate free radicals, as well as serve as natural preservatives for the GLM oil.
While it doesn’t affect quality, a common complaint about fish oil capsules is their size. They are enormous! GLM oil comes in tiny capsules that are perfect for cats, who will often eat them right from your hand; or they can be punctured and the contents mixed with wet food.
Sources for quality Omega 3 greenlip mussel oil supplements are available online, and are proving to be the most beneficial and ecologically sound alternative to fish and krill oil.
I previously wrote about how to choose healthy foods for your pet. In the article, I said that I was not a proponent of a raw food diet, because I felt that the risks outweighed the benefits. However, I have since come to the conclusion that feeding raw food is truly the healthiest way to feed our pets. We know from human nutrition that the less processed our foods are, the better for us, and the same holds true for our pets. Additionally, cats are carnivores, and as such, they are designed to eat raw meat. That being said, some pets, especially cats, can be difficult to transition to raw food . For those pets, the the next best thing for achieving the same results you get from raw feeding may be supplementing your pet’s diet with digestive enzymes.
The reason raw food is so good for our pets is because it still contains all the digestive enzymes. When food is processed and cooked, enzymes are destroyed. Enzymes aid in food absorption by breaking food down into simple, soluble substances that the body can absorb. Enzymes are important building blocks for a multitude of metabolic functions and can help the body fight the degnerative processes that come with aging, aid in better absoprtion of vitamins and minerals, and help build a healthy immune system. Enzyme deficiency can show itself in poor haircoat, allergies, intestinal problems, and voluminous stools, often with the fat still clearly visible.
If you’re not able to feed raw, you may want to consider supplementing your pet’s diet with digestive enzymes. There are numerous products on the market. One I like is Dr. Goodpet’s Feline Digestive Enzymes. In addition to enzymes, it also contains probiotics. It also has absolutely no scent or flavor, which can be an issue with cats. Amber readily accepted it on the very first try and has been taking it for the last few weeks. The most noticeable difference so far has been a marked decrease in the size and the smell of her stools.
The research, and testimonials, for the benefits of digestive enzymes, are convincing. Like pets on raw diets, enzyme supplementation can help your pets look and feel great. Pets on a raw diet tend to have glossy coats, clear ears and eyes, and better teeth. They maintain their ideal weight. They don’t have allergies or intestinal problems. If you’re not able to feed raw, enzyme supplementation can help you achieve the same results.
As a side note, I wanted to test the benefits of digestive enzymes for myself, so I began taking them right along with Amber (not the feline version, though! I choose a product designed for humans, Enzymedica Digest). While I can’t say that my coat has gotten glossier, I’ve definitely noticed an improvement with my digestion! I’ve also noticed that I don’t get hungry as quickly as I used to in between meals. My – completely unscientific – assumption is that it may be due to the fact that my body is absorbing nutrients better as a result of the added enzymes.
Please note: if your cat is diabetic or immuno-suppressed, digestive enzymes may be contra-indicated. Check with your veterinarian before changing your cat’s diet or adding supplements.