I’m sure many of you are abysmally uninterested in MY story, but I love a captive audience! I know that caring, responsible kitty caretakers often feel guilty and helpless for not doing more about their kitties’ diet when I harp on all this ‘stuff.” WELL, DON’T! We do what we do, and because we care, we do our best at any given time.
In the dark ages, when I got a new kitten and the slightly less dark ages when I purchased my first Persians, my initial goal was to get them off of that horrid canned food they were all addicted to and get them on dry food. Most ‘good’ people I know who feed dry at least combine it with some canned every day, but not me! NOPE! I went ALL dry, and usually cold turkey with any new kitten. I did it for the convenience. And boy was it convenient!! I worked a demanding schedule and was away from home several nights a week every week. I could even leave for a three day trip and the cats would be fine. I kept the kibble in a giant chicken feeder and went days — okay WEEKS — barely checking to see if it was topped off. On numerous occasions, I discovered (and I’m growing red with embarrassment here) that the feeder was infested with ants, and I DIDN’T KNOW HOW LONG THEY’D BEEN THERE! Appalling!! Oh, and the litter boxes! Or I should say litter box (singular – it wasn’t until years later I heard someone talking about her litter boxES, and the light went on: you mean I could have more than one?? I had 2 or 3 cats at the time). I thought nothing of going out for a 3 day, 2 night trip and leaving the feeder full, fresh water, and one litter box. It was a little rank when I got back, but that was to be expected. Obviously, I had very good cats! I should point out that I wasn’t an irresponsible teenager either. I was in my 30’s flying jets across the country.
SO, when one of my rescue kitties died of inflammatory bowel disease, I started thinking about diet. This was BI (before Internet), and I bought Anitra Frazier’s book “A New Natural Cat.” It’s kind of a classic. It’s a bit too TOO natural for me and I feel it is off base in many areas, but it was a beginning. However, as I read her recommendations on diet, my head started to spin, I felt nauseous, helpless, frustrated — she did recommend a raw diet, but then you had to add this and that, stand on your head, spin three times, except on Tuesday then it was something different. Also, I was still working full time and the logistics were too much. I started reading cat food labels (dry, of course) and checking ash content, magnesium level, whether it had by-products… WELL, I was doing SOMETHING. In the end, of course, I slid right back to my slovenly ways. NO, not entirely. I GOT ANOTHER LITTER BOX!
I also bought my first two Persians (Himalayans). Only two years later one of them was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease. By now, I’d forgotten all of my great dietary plans and instead I went with the medications the vet gave me and tried one prescription dry food after another. Since both cats vomited a lot I also tried all of the sensitive stomach formulas in dry food. I did this for another eight years or so.
One day, I got fed up with what the vet was telling me, I got tired of cleaning up diarrhea all over the house, and my poor kitty seemed to be at death’s doorstep. I went to the Internet and discovered a whole new world. I began to develop a plan as I read the many approaches to raw feeding. I wanted a recipe that I could rely on not to kill my cats nor cause some deficiency, but I wanted it to be balanced on a day to day basis and not over time (like our diet is). For example some of the raw diet plans feed liver one day, meat/bones the next, fish on the third day for the omega stuff, and so on. It had to be something I would actually do!! I didn’t cure my kitty, but I did have a year free of cleaning up diarrhea — there was no going back for me at that point. It was March of 2004, and I decided to buy my first breeding cats (Nugget and Tiny Bear) in the fall of that same year.
So, we each do what we do when we do it … I’ve always loved and cared for my cats even way back then. It is what it is.