FOOD & NUTRITION

Dear Doctor: Help for a Fussy Eater

I am writing in hopes that you may have a suggestion regarding my three-year-old Persian cat. I adopted her through an agency when she was about two years old, but nothing was ever mentioned to me about her eating issues.

So You Want to Open a Cat Caf …..

Firstly, you need to consider this to be an affair of the heart AND the head. If coffee and cats sound like your perfect cup of tea, there are quite a few things to consider before pouncing into the cat caf business. When Sergio Castillo, co-owner of Purringtons Cat Lounge in Portland, OR, was asked what inspired him to open a cat caf, he said, One day my wife, Kristen, announced I want to do that! They then sat down and talked about everything it would take to be successful - including leaving their jobs - to run not just a new business but a new idea.

The Universal Appeal of Cat Cafs

As I settle into the easy chair and sip a cup of tea, Mr. Moo plays with toys, Fernando lounges on the futon and Tiggy Bella is blissfully curled into a cubbyhole mounted on the wall. An afternoon tea break and snuggle time with my cats is my usual routine - but this isnt my living room, nor are these my cats. Mr. Moo, Fernando, Tiggy Bella and a handful of other cats temporarily reside at Purringtons Cat Lounge in Portland, OR while they (briefly!) wait to be adopted into their forever homes.

Our Cats Are Too Fat

It is estimated that nearly 60 percent of American cats may be overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. This excess weight can lead to a variety of health conditions that are reversible with weight loss.

Nutrition for the First Year of Life

Something didnt seem right, recalls Kim Feild of Montgomery, Texas. The kittens she and her children had brought home from an animal shelter were surprisingly small for their stated three months of age. And alarmingly, one of them had taken to sleeping in a quirky way, head thrown back, body straight up. Mrs. Feilds husband, Marc, drove that kitten to the shelter to see a veterinarian, but it died en route. It was heartbreaking because her son, Cody, had picked out the cat and had already named it Cottonball.

OTC Diet is Not the Same As a Prescription Diet

Many premium commercial pet food manufacturers now include foods that offer novel proteins and limited ingredient, hypoallergenic and grain-free formulas. Most comply with AAFCO guidelines and are easily available in a variety of price points. Many cat owners prefer to pick one of these instead of buying a therapeutic diet from a veterinarians office - especially when the ingredients on the labels appear to be so similar.

Understanding Food Allergies

On the surface, food allergies may appear to be straightforward - the body reacting negatively to something ingested. When taking a closer look, however, food allergies are considerably more complex than that, and often require much trial and error to reach a solution.

Dear Doctor: Feeding Dog Food to Cats

My husband and I live in an elderly community, with plenty of pet lovers. Our neighbor recently lost her toy breed dog, and offered to give us a case of small cans of dog food to feed our two cats.

The Guaranteed Analysis Puzzle

When you look at the label on any package of cat food, the most dizzying part will no doubt be the Guaranteed Analysis, a bunch of numbers given either as percentages or milligrams per kilogram (mg/kg) with no accompanying key to explain their meaning in a cats diet. To make matters even more complicated, each number is listed as a minimum or maximum, so you dont know whether youre getting the least or, conversely, the most allowed.

The Cat’s Primordial Pouch

This months Short Takes makes me particularly happy, and I really hope it sparks a trend in the animal welfare community. Researchers at the University of Georgia are matching senior citizens who live alone with shelter cats - to see if the relationship is helpful at making the person feel less lonely and with more purpose.

Dear Doctor: Are Vegetables Beneficial?

My wife likes to pure vegetables - like peas, carrots and sweet potato - and mix it into our cats canned food. Is this okay to do? Are there any vegetables that should never be added to the cat food? We also add some cranberry powder (made for cats), along with some hairball powder. We trying to be to health-minded, but can we be causing potential problems?

Helping Your Cat to Lose Weight

When Blazer tipped the scale at 29 pounds, his owner knew it was time to take action. He has always been a big boy, explains Susanne Jenkins of her tabby cat. But over the course of one long winter, he simply blew up. He was living with four dogs and getting into a lot of dog food.