FEEDING YOUR CAT ERRONEOUSLY
(source Small Animal Clinical Nutrition by Hand et al)
40-60% of cats are regularly fed table foods. Feeding treats allows for more social interaction with the owner, increases diet variety and provide additional caloric intake. Providing treats for cats may negatively affect a well balanced food when fed in excess. Although some commercial treats are nutritionally adequate and fit well into a nutritional plan, many do not. Table foods tend to be highly palatable, calorically dense and nutritionally incomplete. Because most commercial cat foods contain vitamins and minerals well above the nutritional needs of cats, table foods and treats fed at less than 10% of total daily intake should be safe. Providing high caloric treats contributes to obesity. Treats high in certain nutrients can promote nutrient excesses alone or in combination with commercial foods. For example, liver or cod liver oil can markedly increase vitamin A intake, potentially to a toxic level. Significant health consequences may result from feeding inappropriate treats.
One of the most common human foods offered to cats. Highly palatable and small quantities are well tolerated by most healthy cats. After weaning intestinal lactase activity declines. Undigested lactose is subject to bacterial fermentation and promotes osmotic diarrhea. Feeding large quantities of milk may overwhelm digestive capacity resulting in diarrhea, flatulence or GI distress. Although commercial lactase supplements may alleviate signs of lactose intolerance, lactose avoidance is more prudent.
Supplements are legitimate sources of essential nutrients, but some can represent food fads that reflect current trends in human nutrition. Poor quality foods are rarely fixed by adding a supplement. Changing to a higher quality food is more appropriate and less costly.
Breeders sometimes supplement calcium during pregnancy, lactation and growth. Additional calcium is rarely necessary and may lead to nutritional excess or nutrient imbalances in cats fed complete and balanced commercial feline products. Cats with eclampsia and those fed a homemade food typically require calcium supplementation.
Chromium has been called a ‘glucose tolerance factor’ for its role in normal glucose homeostasis and insulin action in experimental animals. Supplementation promotes lean tissue accretion in growing livestock. Thus, health food stores now stock chromium as an anti diabetic nutrient and fat burner for people. Little information exists on the effect of supplementation in cats. Some caution may be warranted given excess chromium has been associated with chromosomal damage.
Promoted as coat conditioners and flea preventative for dogs and cats. Although brewers yeast is a good source of B vitamins, particularly thiamin, research as not proven its efficacy as a flea repellent.
Is synthesized in the liver of cats and is not a required nutritient. Nevertheless it has been advocated for use in cats as a natural urinary acidifier, an antioxidant and as an anti viral agent. The benefit of supplemental Vitamin C has not been documented. Ascorbic acid will promote acidic urine. Detrimental effects have been reported to occur in people, dogs and ferrets and laboratory animals fed mega doses of Vitamin C, Because it is metabolized to oxalate supplementation should be strictly avoided in cats prone to calcium oxalate crystalluria.
Raw meat and organ meat is highly palatable, digestible and generally nutritious when supplemented with appropriate vitamins and minerals. Cooking destroys some nutrients and increases the availability of others. A benefit to feeding raw meat to cats has not been documented and the disadvantages far outweigh any advantages. Raw meat, even when flash frozen may contain harmful bacteria and parasites. Unless supplemented with vitamins and minerals, raw meat is nutritionally incomplete and can lead to nutritional secondary hyperparathyroidism or iodine deficiency. Meat mixes composed of large percentages of organ meats may provide excessive levels of Vitamin A. Cats fed raw meat diets sometimes develop fixed food preferences, making subsequent food changes difficult.
The nutritional needs of cats are best met with a carnivorous diet. Commercial vegetarian diets exist and these must be closely evaluated to ensure that there is availability of protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and fats.
Most dog foods are nutritionally inadequate for maintenance, growth and reproduction of cats. Nutrients most likely to be deficient are protein, taurine, niacin, vitamin B6, methionine and choline. Clinical signs of deficiency depend on which nutrients are deficient and to what degree. In addition dog foods do not address dietary acidification or magnesium content appropriate for reduction of struvite crystal formation. Therefore cats fed dog food are likely to consume a high magnesium alkalinizing food which increases their risk for struvite urolith formation.
Relatively infrequent in cats. Most notable is hemolytic anemia caused by onion toxicity. Certain desulphides found in onions promote oxidative damage to cat hemoglobin resulting in Heinz body production and red cell removal. It is prudent to avoid feeding food or seasonings containing onion powder or onions.
Is a toxic methylxanthine found in chocolate. The clinical signs of toxicity include vomiting, diarrhea, vascular collapse and death. The oral LD50 of theobromine is 200mg/kg body weight. Approximately 40-50g of cocoa would need to be consumed to provide the dose of theobromine which is undoubtedly why clinical reports of chocolate toxicoses are rare in cats.
Toxicosis has been reported to occurring cats after ingestion of certain species of spoiled fish. Cats develop salivation, vomiting and diarrhea about 30 minutes after eating uncooked anchovies. Histamine toxicosis is most likely to occur in cats fed improperly handled fish that has undergone spoilage.
We sincerely recommend that you please call us on (03) 9700 0857 or (03) 9700 1307 to schedule an appointment at the earliest. We do not believe in berating our clients for presenting the pets late, as we believe that this is counter productive. It is not our intention to cause you any embarrassment, offence or anxiety. Our approach is now that you have presented your pet to us, how do we go forward from here, not only keeping your pet’s welfare at heart, but also working with your wishes and limiting factors. We do approach all cases presented to us with a level of sensitivity. As pet health care professionals we will present our assessment and treatment in a professional manner and factually as possible.
You may not be aware that in older pets multiple problems often arise as aging affects all body systems. As pets age they become increasingly vulnerable to diseases. The three leading causes of non accidental death in pets are cancer, kidney disease and heart disease. Older animals seldom suffer from a single disease. One problem may markedly influence the course of another. Ageing is characterised by progressive and irreversible change. Pets are likely to start having diseases associated with ageing between 7 and 13 years. Smaller dogs tend to live longer than large dogs. The quality and length of life of older pets can be improved through regular health checks (every 6 months). A thorough clinical examination will help define some of these problems.
Because we do care for the welfare and interest of your pet, we do go out of way to ensure that your pet can access medical or surgical attention in time of its need. It would also interest you to know that:-
- We do pride ourselves in the quality of our services.
- We do provide a 24 hour on call service.
- We also offer payment plans through a third party, provided you meet the criteria as set out by the financing institute.
- If you cannot bring your pet to us, we will come to you as we do have a fully equipped pet ambulance.
- We also do house calls.
- Your pet will receive a very high level of care given the level of diagnostic and monitoring equipment that we have on hand.
- We do welcome you to take a personal tour of our facility.
- We also provide pet grooming services
- We also provide puppy classes. Puppies are trained not only indoors, but also outdoors, bring exposed to outdoor noises and traffic in a controlled environment.
- We do care for our wildlife, and work very closely with wildlife carers providing veterinary care where needed.
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