FOOD & NUTRITION

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.

Are Grain-Free Diets Healthier?

If you think youre noticing more and more grain-free pet foods on the shelves, youre right. According to data in the Dog and Cat Food Ingredient Center -which examines pet food trends and ingredients - 73 percent of manufacturers producing dry cat food in the United States now have at least one grain-free product.

Dear Doctor: How to Feed Kittens and their Nursing Mom

I am fostering an adolescent stray mother cat and her three kittens (I picked them up when the kittens were about one-week-old) and I fed her a high-quality wet cat food the first few days.

Weight Loss Foods and Actual Calorie Count

Today, you can find at least 50 cat foods on the market with promises on their labels that claim everything from weight loss to reduced calorie to weight management. But just what do these phrases mean? Unfortunately, whatever the manufacturer wants them to.

Minimizing Stress for Your Cat

Much in the same way that stress affects humans, it can also affect cats. While brief periods of stress can help cats to survive dangerous situations, recurrent or prolonged stress can be harmful for them both physically and emotionally.