FOOD & NUTRITION

Avoiding Nutritional Deficiencies

While individual cats may differ dramatically in various ways, all are alike in their need for a nutritionally sound and palatable daily diet. Fortunately, says Cailin Heinze, VMD, DACVN, assistant professor of nutrition at the Cummings School, nutritionally sound cat foods are readily available in abundance these days on the shelves of local supermarkets and pet supply stores. The ingredients of these commercial products are based on requirements published annually by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO), which stipulate that - in order to be labeled complete and balanced - the foods must comply with rigorous AAFCO nutritional standards.

Dear Doctor: A Cat with an Endless Appetite

We recently adopted a two-year-old male cat, and hes been a delightful addition to our household (we have two resident cats that we raised from kittenhood). Bentley lived at some point as a homeless cat - maybe abandoned, no one knows for sure. But a kindly person noticed him in a feral colony where he was fed for about a month (and he was clearly not a feral stray), and then she set about finding him a proper home.

The Allure of Catnip

As we all know, many cats just cant enough of catnip - nepeta cataria, a fragrantly intoxicating plant native to Asia - although why it has such an effect on cats has remained a mystery. However, recent research may shed new light on the riddle - as well as identify a few other substances that may delight your cat even more.

Dear Doctor: What should I feed my cats?

I have lived with cats my entire life, and now my husband and I share our home with three cats we adopted from the local humane society at different points.

Dear Doctor – Preservatives in pet food

Q There used to be a lot of talk about the dangers of BHA, BHT and ethoxyquin used as preservatives in certain pet foods. Have they been replaced by different ingredients, or are there simply fewer concerns about them now?

Dear Doctor – The hazards of feeding dog food to cats

Q 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.

We are living on a fixed income as retirees, and wouldnt object to a couple of weeks of free food! But we wanted to first make sure that the dog food - a premium brand - would be safe for our cats. Please advise.

Why Don’t Cats Drink Water?

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 about her eating issues. I have now learned that she will not eat moist cat food of any flavor, and from what I can tell, she does not drink water! I have tried many tricks, and make certain that she has access to fresh water (in different areas of the house) at all times.

Are Cats Actually Finicky?

Many cat owners consider their cats to be finicky when it comes to the foods carefully chosen for them. In search of various flavors, textures, consistencies and list of ingredients, we sometimes cant make heads or tails of the foods our cats prefer, and why. A new study may shed light on this mystery, however. …

Some Help in Feeding Your Cat

- Try different types of food to see if your cat likes a different brand or flavor.

- Warm the food slightly.

- Add a little bit of something with a strong odor - a little tuna juice or tuna fish, for example.

- Consider hand feeding - once in a while. Some cats will allow it, says Dr. Ross. You dont want to do it too much, though. Your cat can actually get an aversion to food - associate it with being forced to eat. Also, you dont want to get bitten, even if inadvertently.

Consider hand feeding - once in a while. Some cats will allow it, says Dr. Ross. You dont want to do it too much, though. Your cat can actually get an aversion to food - associate it with…

What It Means When A Cat’s Appetite Changes

Youd think it would be relatively easy to spot when a cats appetite is flagging - or revving up. If you have one cat, its fairly obvious when your cat is not eating the same amount of food, explains Linda A. Ross, DVM, associate professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences at Tufts Universitys Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. But the majority of cat owners have more than one cat. When you live with two…

Dear Doctor – A cat with a tuna preference

Q I have a five-year-old cat I adopted from a shelter as a kitten. Spruce has been a wonderful companion, with good behavior and...

Cutting Carbohydrates for Obese Cats

[From Tufts March 2010 Issue]

Today, more than one-third of cats in the United States are overweight, posing many health risks and possibly contributing to shortened lives.

Ongoing research indicates that increasing protein levels and decreasing carbohydrates in feline diets play vital roles in preventing obesity and its related illnesses. One of these leading scientists, Debra Zoran, DVM, associate professor and chief of medicine at Texas A&M Universitys College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences in College Station, presented her research at the June 2009 conference of The American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine (ACVIM) in Montreal, Canada.