Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Weight Baseline For Our Four Felines

I realized this morning that I have not yet posted the baseline weight and other vitals on our cats. Here are today's numbers:

Duke: 8.6 lbs.
Merry Jayne: 14.6 lbs.
Einstein: 8.4 lbs.
Gandalf: 13.8 lbs.

I'm pleased with the initial weight gain of both Duke and Einstein. They are both up approximately 4 ounces each. Merry Jayne is about the same, and due to Gandalf's hospitalization, he is down less than half a pound. That is not necessarily a bad thing! He could stand to lose another 8 ounces. Gandalf is slightly overweight, but not by much. He is just a very large framed cat!

Today marks day 3 with the raw food diet. Einstein has embraced it wholeheartedly, and would gladly eat his chicken by the pound if I would allow it. However, he's not happy that he can no longer free feed from dry kibble. We have caught him urinating outside the litter box. I am sure that it's behavioral, and nothing else. The only bright side to the inappropriate urination is that having the extra moisture in the diet, the urine is less concentrated, so is not as nauseatingly strong. I have found that the best cleaner to tackle cat urine is: Woolite Pet Stain Remover. Talking to a few friends that have had similar problems with their cats have recommended SCOE 10X but I have yet to test it personally.

So, in conclusion, Einstein, Duke and Merry Jayne and Gandalf are all receiving 3 oz. of raw food diet daily. I am still mixing in canned tuna fish and extra water to all except Einstein's dish. In addition to the raw food diet, all 4 cats are being fed Hill's Prescription Diet W/D. It is a low pH prescription cat food available from your veterinarian, or at pet food stores with a prescription from the vet only.

Well it's off to pick up more kibble for me! Dr. King at The Cat Hospital of Sarasota , Dr. King has additional information for me about feeding the Raw Food Diet specifically for cats with Struvite Crystals. Dr. King is not only a great Veterinarian whom I consider a "Cat Whisperer" but really cares about all of the felines that he sees! Last Friday, he overstayed his normal work schedule by many hours to perform surgery on Gandalf to remove the broken catheter, and flush and clean out Gandalf's bladder. We are very grateful to Dr. King and his entire staff at The Cat Hospital.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Gandalf is Coming Home!

We just spoke with the Veterinarian at Critical Care & Veterinary Specialists of Sarasota and we will be picking Gandalf up in about an hour! This is great news! We are prepared to spoil him rotten. We do have to make a stop to acquire "Piddle Pads" as he is not cleared to risk contaminating his urinary tract with kitty litter dust. We are very grateful for the excellent veterinary care Gandalf has received over the last week!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

New Health Needs Require Diet Modification

We have gone back and forth over the last several years about the pros and cons of switching our cats to a "Raw Food Diet".

The pros are simple:

1. Commercial pet food has been recalled over and over due to tainted ingredients.
2. There is little benefit in a "dry food" diet for cats, they don't get enough moisture as it is.
3. Two of our cats have developed Struvite Crystals over the last two years.

The cons are simple too:
1. Risk of cross contamination endanger humans in the household. Proper preparation, sanitation, storage and "Use By Dates" on the containers are not only important, but MANDATORY!
2. It can be hard on the felines system anytime you switch diets, drastic changes are never a good idea. They must be introduced to the new diet slowly.
3. Two of our kitties prefer dry kibble, don't particularly care for canned food even as a treat, and don't eat cat treats. Period.

It was heart breaking when Merry Jayne developed struvite crystals, but downright scary and very expensive when Gandalf developed crystals. Gandalf has now been in 24 hour veterinary care for five and a half days!
During this time, Gandalf has had to be catheterized several times due to a complete blockage of urine flow, and a very sore urethra and bladder! On day three, the catheter tip broke off in his urethra. His primary Veterinarian had to re catheterize him, to push the broken piece into his bladder, and then surgically remove the foreign object. The only bright side to that procedure, was since the bladder was already opened surgically, the Doctor was able to irrigate his bladder, removing the remaining crud and struvite crystals. The procedure was performed Friday around 7:45 PM as our Veterinarian was going out of town on Saturday, and had a full day of seeing patients Friday. Unfortunately, the Veterinary office is not staffed after hours, so Gandalf had to be transferred to an acute/critical care facility to monitor him post-op ensuring that he safely recovered. During the transport time, Gandalf's body temperature dropped to 94ºF which is dangerously low (Mild hypothermia is classified as a body temperature of 90 - 99°F). He has a will to live, and made it through! His caregivers were fantastic.
Gandalf and Merry Jayne both are not enthusiastic eaters, neither particularly like the low pH specially formulated prescription, quality foods available at most Veterinary Offices and pet food supply stores. If a cat does not get enough moisture in their diet, it is likely that the urine will become too concentrated, and struvite crystals may form. Struvite crystals are very painful. They make the feline feel as if they are urinating glass. Just knowing that our sweet Gandalf must have been in pain before we actually caught it, saddens us. We are very in tune with our animals physical as well as mental health. They are our children!

This concludes the introductory post to this blog. We will be updating frequently, with weight, overall health, and the struggles to switch the cats over to the Raw Food Diet. If you would like to explore the option of switching your felines over as well. Here are a few links that we have found very helpful:
Making Raw Diet Cat Food
Itchmo Forums for Cats & Dogs
Both sites offer a wealth of information. We encourage all readers to research and explore all options on their own. The above links are two that we personally rely on for a starting point.