Re: the previous post — My Pathetic Story.

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.

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15 responses to “Re: the previous post — My Pathetic Story.

  1. To be fair, I think it was a lot harder for all of us before the internet became popular. All we had before the internet was the word of the vet and/or salesperson at the pet store, who usually wanted to sell us something, and who even today are sometimes totally misinformed. It’s rare even now to find a vet who understands that most of the food they sell in their vet offices is full of grain and carbs; same thing with the pet stores, as they seem to be pushing “greens” and vegetables in their cat foods (I’m assuming because that’s what’s supposed to be healthy for people). So how could you know, Molly? And even if you did suspect, where were you supposed to find the recipe? Unless you were extremely lucky and happened upon a book or knew a knowledgeable person, it would’ve been extremely hard to feed your cats raw food. So I completely understand your story.

    • Very true, both Jill and Bobin. Also the times have really changed. Growing up in a farming community, cats were indoor/outdoor or outdoor only. I was the first in my family to start keeping my cats indoor only in the mid 1980’s, and the family thought I was being cruel. As a child I remember scooping up sand from an area behind our fence to use for cat litter, which quickly became mud… and NO litter boxes as we think of them, it was usually a cut down cardboard box.

  2. Molly – no need to feel guilty.

    One does what one thinks right at the time.

    20/20 hindsight is a wonderful thing…

    All one can try and do is not make the SAME mistakes twice. Bobin

  3. Go Molly!

    Thank you for educating and informing.

    I too, had my own ‘lightbulb’ moment 10 years ago during an office visit to the Vet picking up sub-cutaneous fluids for Yoda, a PKD kitty.

    5 of us at the vet that morning, picking up fluids and needles for our beloved kitties, all in various stages of renal failure. It was beyond heartbreaking.

    Forgive me for stepping on my own soapbox Molly:

    Feline renal failure is an epidemic. KIBBLE is the culprit.

    When we know better, we do better.

  4. Couldn’t agree more, Bast! Renal failure – the kind that is not hereditary – is just taken as a common ‘old age’ disease for cats, but I think it could be avoided or certainly reduced.

  5. My cousin’s 12 yr old cat is going through renal failure right now…they are doing the subQ fluids thing. My sister’s 10 yr old cat, Lilli, was recently diagnosed with diabetes, is on insulin, and was put on prescription DRY food. She has always eaten food purchased from the vet and has had UTIs more than once! You know my story. It really makes my head spin and I feel so furious, but guilty at the same time! I have a huge feeder for my girls and it is convenient. It has worked out very nicely for ME! They don’t complain…they love the poison I’m feeding them.

    • Oh, yes, I remember you talking about your sister’s cat with diabetes. It’s interesting that many diabetic cats can get off of insulin with a diet change to wet, high protein, low carbohydrates — I believe it’s fairly will researched and documented as well, so it is a mystery to me as to why that’s not the first course of action for a diabetic cat as soon as they can be stabilized. Of course, IMO, we would probably not have diabetic cats in the first place is they were fed appropriately BEFORE they get the disease.

      • thank you for saying this.my 13yr old cat was diagnosed with diabetes about 7yrs ago. i freaked out when i heard this. but the vet told me to put him on a high protein low carbohydrate diet. my cat is pretty fussy. but i was able to find two flavors of fancy feast which were pretty low in carbs. And i buy a prescription dry (high protein) dry food from the vet. His blood sugar has been normal since.

        my vet told me, cats have absolutly no nutritional need for carbohydrates. i don’t understand why vets wouldnt recommend a diet like this for ALL cats.

      • WOW! Great comment from the trenches. Thanks for posting.

      • Even if I tried to explain to my sister about how a diet change could get Lilli off insulin, it would never change anything. She & my bro-in-law are very stubborn and will tell me they are going to do what the vet told them to. I, on the other hand, will be fully exploring a diet change once my girls & I are settled after our move. Most likely raw will just not be possible for me as I have no income (just my small settlement from worker’s comp) until I get approved for disability. I simply can’t afford it. The added expense of canned vs. dry will be enough of a challenge, unfortunately : (

  6. Your Blogs are always very interesting Molly !! and I always read them through and through. I have had kitties all my life even when living at home and as far back as I can remember, their was always a kittie there. I always remember my grandmother cooking fish (Coley) on the stove then mashed up for the cats during the day. Our kitchen stunk of fish always – 😀 I used to give Mustard fish lots at one time as she had a very sensitive tummy especially when she was younger, she appears to be doing fine on a mixture of dried and some gourmet , and of course always plenty of fresh water. There is so much food out their to try and we always think that we are doing the right thing for our cats – and of course you hope to trust our vets on this as well when they tell you what is supposed to be best.

  7. Thank you for all the useful information! I think loving a cat is the best way to take care of him/her whatever you try it will always seems the best you can do but sometimes there are better ways to do the same tings as you so kindly show us all through the blog. Keep going on!

  8. I can remember my mother cooking coley for our cat too and my father complaining about the smell that filled the house but in those days, it was reccomended for cats. ( Now it’s humans, lol). Then going back to my parents times, the family pets were fed on scraps from the table, there wasn’t such a thing as ‘pet food’.
    There are many things we would have done differently if we knew then what we know now.
    As long as we learn along the way, that’s the important thing.

  9. Molly, I’m still going thru this issue right now with my rescue Tanzy. I feed her about 1 cup a day of Nature’s Choice(for her to graze) I also give her about tsp of canned food twice a day. (and she doesn’t eat all of it, I throw a lot out) However, she is very finicky and doesn’t like a lot canned food no matter the brand I try. She likes one’s with gravy or liquid. I had a butcher do a raw rabbit, and she turned her nose up at it. Her urine is very strong but don’t know what to do. I’ve been the route with special diet from vet, etc. Makes no difference except in my purse and can’t afford that anymore. 😦
    Like I say, she is suuupppeeer finicky. Ex: doesn’t like sardines, drop of milk, (which is good, lol diarrhea)will eat a teeny bit of tuna once in a while. Mind you I had to trap her at a campground with plastic milk crate, she was 4 months old and weighed 1.82 lbs.
    She is a great kitty and both of us are enamored with her.:) She is indoor only except outside on a leash. Your blog topic really hit home today and I was glad to see it. Maybe you have some tips for me.
    Thanks
    Val in MI

    • Val, I just found your post. I would highly recommend that you go to this website: http://www.catinfo.org for tips on transitioning a cat from dry to canned. She goes into it in much more detail and with more knowledge than I have… and she’s a veterinarian who has helped me numerous times with feline diet and nutrition. She does consultations as well for a fee.

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