Ask The Doctor – Carbs and Metabolism in Cats

Do carbs make cats fat?
Q I am a long-time subscriber to Catnip, and a volunteer for feline rescue groups in my area. A large female recently came to us at a little over twenty pounds, and was described by our vet as a food-grazer. For the past three weeks under our care, she has been receiving one-quarter cup twice daily of a veterinarian-recommended weight reduction food, and she has lost just under one pound.

Pros and Cons of Free-Feeding Your Cat

For many cats, this method works well because they can nibble at will throughout the day or night. This method is also most convenient for owners because they can leave their cats for longer periods without having to worry about getting home in time for dinner. Another benefit of this feeding method is that, in a multicat home, cats who have appetites at different times can satisfy themselves conveniently. If there's tension in the multicat home, this can also allow one cat to come in and feed when another cat isn't around.

Ask The Doctor – Veggies and Supplements

Q My wife likes to puree 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?
David Smith

Dear Doctor – March 2016

Some advice for weight loss
Q My cat, Buddy, is obese. He is very long, and weighs close to 29 pounds. Our veterinarian says we should try to get him down to 20 pounds. He has been tested for a thyroid problem, and it appears that this is not the issue.
My veterinarian consulted with a colleague, who thought it may be that Buddy is not able to process carbohydrates. Weve reduced Buddys total calories to around 325 per day.

Food Allergies in Cats

At least on the surface, food allergies can 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 they often require much trial and error to reach a solution. Simply put, adverse reactions to food occur when a typically harmless ingredient is ingested and distinct clinical signs appear. A food allergy is a response to a food - usually a protein in the animals diet - that involves the immune system.

Over-the-Counter Diet versus Rx Diet for cats

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.

According to Dr. Heinze, For a diagnostic trial, if youre trying to prove an animal does or does not have food allergies, you should never use an OTC diet, for a couple of reasons. For one thing, most of them that call themselves limited antigen ...

The Importance of Taurine in Cats

Like all mammals, domestic cats require a nutritionally sound daily diet, containing appropriate amounts of vitamins, proteins, minerals, carbohydrates, fats and water. Most of these dietary components come from the commercially prepared foods that the typical cat consumes each day, while adequate amounts of other important nutrients are manufactured within the cats system by means of complex biochemical processes. …

Dietary change for cats with Kidney Disease

Cats are notoriously reluctant to change - and this is especially true when making a change from a preferred diet. Low protein diets for kidney disease can be less palatable, which can make the change especially difficult for some cats. Switching food should be done slowly, and a smooth transition can take a few days up to 10 days for some. …

Feeding Cats with Kidney Disease

Feline nutrition is a fine balancing act when a cat requires a special diet for a serious health condition like kidney disease. While a kidney disease diet is not a cure, it is a way to help manage the disease in order to minimize symptoms, improve quality of life and hopefully prolong the cats lifespan. To better understand a kidney disease diet and how it works, first its important to understand the nature of kidney…

New Kidney Disease Early Detection Test for Cats

In early 2015, IDEXX Laboratories announced a new test for cats and dogs that detects kidney disease at a much earlier stage - when far less damage has been done to the kidney than the current methods. According to Cailin Heinze, VMD, MS, DACVN, assistant professor of nutrition at the Cummings School, Using traditional tests, a diagnosis is made when about 75 percent of the kidney function has been lost, but the new renal biomarker,…

Dry Food VS Wet Food for Cats

If you compare the Guaranteed Analysis on a can of wet cat food to the one on a bag of dry kibble, the dry food would seem the obvious choice because it shows much higher percentages of protein, fat, and fiber. But thats only because canned food, which contains more water, is more dilute. The nutrients the cat actually ingests in a serving are more dependent on the product than the form in which its delivered. There is no inherent reason to feed canned or dry food other than pet or owner preference, says Lisa Freeman, DVM, PhD, a veterinary nutritionist at Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine. What is important is to select a good-quality food manufactured by a well-known, reputable company. Granted, for cats with lower urinary tract problems, including bladder stones or cystitis, wet food makes a better choice because of its higher moisture content.

Smart Ways to Feed Your Cat Treats

Many of us maintain a little stockpile of our favorite snacks in a cupboard somewhere. And plenty of pet owners feel that their beloved four-legged companions deserve their own stash of treats as well. But does the habit of giving treats actually benefit our cats - or is it more a matter of anthropomorphism than anything else?