Hello feline friend!
I hope February finds you and your furry loves cozy and well. Our two cats have been putting up with me taking (even) more photos of them, as I’m working on a special painting and need their modeling skills.
In this dispatch I’m answering a couple of reader questions.
Q: On the Today’s Best Cat Foods page you suggest avoiding ground bones in food for cats with constipation or kidney disease – why?
A: I put that disclaimer about ground bones up because I want to err on the side of caution. There are two reasons I personally would avoid feeding foods with with ground bone to a cat with kidney failure. First, treatment typically involves limiting phosphorous intake, but ground bones may make phosphorous levels higher in food. I haven’t found much data on it, but I’ve read a few times that phosphorous increases with bone content. For example, a comprehensive, foot-noted article on CatCentric.org says, “…eggshells are an excellent bone substitute, as they are composed of similar minerals as bone, only with significantly less phosphorus and sodium.(5) This is what makes eggshells the perfect bone substitute for cats requiring a low phosphorus diet, e.g. cats with kidney disease (CKD) or in chronic renal failure (CRF).”
Also, kidney failure increases dehydration and therefore constipation. Ground bones have been been associated with significant constipation in some cats. One of our cats reached a level of constipation that became quite dangerous to his health. This was triggered by a diet of raw food with ground bones and the doctor found that ground bones were clogging up his digestive system. I’ve heard of this happening enough to consider it a pattern and risk – at least to any cat prone to constipation.
Dr. Lisa Pierson of CatInfo.org writes, “after witnessing constipation in many raw-fed cats and watching lions strip the meat from the bones – leaving most of the bones behind – I am not comfortable feeding as much bone as that found in whole chickens, turkeys, or rabbits…”. She still includes some ground bones in her homemade cat food, but at a reduced level.
Q: Is there an ideal way to to create a warm “nest” for feral cats during cold months?
A: Good question. Experts say a simple blanket-in-a-box isn’t effective, as it doesn’t provide the kind of insulation kitties needed for warmth. The good news is that there are do-able DIY cat shelters we can create. Check out this great how-to on that here.
photo credit: IS Foundation