Posts Tagged ‘animal behavior’

My chammy bathrobe in my desk chair. They love warm fuzzy things.

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Being a bodyworker, my daily routine includes washing, drying and folding seven sets of flannel sheets. Any of you who have cats, know that they love warm things, sunspots, tops of appliances, anything that’s warmer than the ambient temperature. And my little Tonkinese boy, Cielo (it means “heaven” in Spanish), especially loves the laundry just out of the dryer.

Cielo can be sleeping in a room on the other side of the house, but when he hears the dryer beeping and me walking towards the laundry room, he comes running. He jumps onto the pile of hot sheets that I’ve dumped on the sofa and tunnels in. Then we play this game where I pull the sheets out to fold and he grabs them in a tug of war until the job is finished.

I just hope none of my clients or members of the State Regulatory board sees this (just kidding)!



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Anybody who has ever been owned-by and loved a cat knows of the challenges encountered when introducing any kind of change for them. This video is one of my all-time favorite commercials, and while I can never remember what was being advertised, I go on YouTube from time-to-time just to watch it. Cats rarely evoke feelings of apathy in people. You either love them or hate them, but for me, they are the perfect companion. Independent, funny, intelligent and quirky, and very affectionate, our cats enrich our lives in so many ways.

After having lost our last two girls – Meggie (Nutmeg) and Ginger, both to diabetes eight years ago, I was horrified to learn that their diet was mostly to blame. They both died around twelve, which is relatively young for indoor cats. At the time, I was feeding them a very well respected and expensive dry cat food, one recommended by our vet and one loaded with grains. Without going into the details of the challenges we and they went through, suffice to say that I did lots of research about food when I got our current feline “owners” Leo and Cielo.

Since that time, I have learned more and more about the dietary needs of cats. First of all, domesticated cats are true carnivores. Their natural diet is mice and birds and they supplement by eating grasses to get the chlorophyll that they need for trace minerals. Secondly, in the wild, cats get most of the moisture that they need from their food. Thirdly, grains are simply a deadly combination for these animals. Grains promote insulin resistance resulting in Type II diabetes and acidic urine the primary cause of Feline urologic syndrome. Since most dry food relies on grains to stabilize the proteins, I decided that dry food based on grains was out for Leo and Cielo.

After reading all the labels on the dry foods at the local health food store, I settled on one that used sweet potatoes as the stabilizing starch and venison and salmon as the protein source. Leo and Cielo loved it – and Leo loved it a little too much. As the years went by, I noticed that his middle was coming closer and closer to the ground and his waist had all but disappeared. At a veterinary check-up a few years ago, his doctor said it was time for a diet…Okay, good luck with that. First I searched for a dry food that was lower in calories – Leo just ate more of it, then I went to wet food, with a little supplementation of dry – Leo whined and fussed all the time. And when he wasn’t doing that, he walked on our heads all night. All the time, getting heavier. And the problem with Leo is that he’s so smart, he can open doors throughout our house. We can’t keep him out of the bedroom because if we put him and Cielo out and close the door, pretty soon, we’ll hear a clunk and both cats stroll down the hall looking somewhat annoyed.

A few months ago, my friend Crystal Nuding, told me about a new diet she’s been giving her dachshund, Oliver. She cooks for him! She said that Oliver loves the stew she makes him. He’s lost weight and his energy is amazing for an older dog. Crystal is a web consultant and Divine Openings Giver and one of her web clients Alecia Evans had been raving about a book that she feels is the answer to many pet owners prayers about natural pet food. Entitled “The Whole Pet Diet – Eight Weeks To Great Health For Dogs and Cats,” author Andi Brown outlines the science and a specific healing diet for companion animals that makes sense. She has a variety of healing stew recipes as well as treats and ideas for cleaning teeth.

I got the book, read it and decided to “go for it.” I went shopping for all the ingredients for the chicken stew. Spent a couple of hours working on it, kept a few containers out and froze the rest – the recipe makes about two weeks worth of food for two cats – so really not bad for the time  and energy spent. On that first day, I put a dish of the stew out for the cats. They sniffed it and wouldn’t even taste it. Hence, the herding cats thing. Peter and I just weren’t going to give up. So we decided to start slowly. We put a teaspoon of stew in each dish with a half-can of their favorite processed food. After sniffing it for awhile and realizing that this was all we were serving, they did eat it. Literally, over the course of two months, now, we have gradually added more stew and less canned food until two weeks ago we were at one half cup of stew and a teaspoon of the canned food. And they were eating it.

It was finally time to try the stew solo…we were getting ready to go out to dinner, so Peter fed them early and came into the bedroom to get dressed. Even with the tiny amount of canned food in the stew, both boys could tell something was missing. As Peter walked in the bedroom, Leo and Cielo both followed, sat down on the bed and stared at him, as if to say, we know what you did! After a few minutes, he relented, went back and added the teaspoon of canned food! The evil eye treatment was just too much. Yes, herding humans is easier that herding cats! But, in another week, we were able to eliminate the canned food and they are now cleaning their dishes – every last morsel.

Leo helping me write this post…

In six weeks, Leo has lost about a pound! He now has a waist – and he’s not begging for food at all. This stew seems to satisfy his appetite and he looks great. It’s easy to make, it’s less expensive than processed food by about half and in my opinion, a whole lot healthier! After all, I don’t eat processed food so why would I want to feed it to my cats?

So my suggestion? Check out The Whole Pet Diet. It’s a great, informative book with practical ideas for healthy food for dogs and cats. And while I doubt, I’ll ever be able to herd the boys, I did succeed this time in convincing them to eat my homemade stew!


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