inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #51 of 90: Betsy Schwartz (betsys) Thu 31 Jan 08 09:00
    
My cats are indoor-only, but I adopted them as kittens. My previous
cat was an indoor-outdoor cat whom I adopted when he was two, and very
accustomed to his freedom. I am not convinced that he could have been
converted to indoor-only and I'd be interested in hearing stories from
people who have succeeded. 

I had to keep my old cat in for a week once following surgery, and he
drove us all NUTS. His interest in the outdoors did not slack in the
slightest. (It also possibly did not help that his previous owner
spayed him rather late in adolescence) 
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #52 of 90: Carol Willette (carolw) Thu 31 Jan 08 14:51
    
Thanks for that reply, Arden, and I agree with you.  As a fosterer
involved in rescue and placement, I've seen this issue come up with
adopters a lot.  One person came to adoption day wanting a "street
smart" cat (she was turned down).  I think some people just do not want
to clean litterboxes.

I've worked with rescues that allow adoption to indoor/outdoor homes,
as long as they aren't in a high-traffic area.  But when I see dead
cats on the side of the road, and hear that someone's cat has
contracted FIV or FeLV from a cat fight, or drank antifreeze, ingested
poison laid out by cat-haters, or got mangled in a car's engine, I have
to ask, What price "freedom"?  (Not to mention much higher vet bills.)

Your critter condo sounds great.  I've been wanting something like
that for a long time -- have to really try to finally do it this
summer!
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #53 of 90: Angie (coiro) Thu 31 Jan 08 15:02
    
In fact, the book tackles a number of myths about cats. From my
observations, one of the most harmful perceptions that leads to these
myths is that cats are "wild animals". That's used to justify any
number of myths - that they "need" to be allowed to reproduce*, they
"need" to be outside, to eat wildlife, and on and on. 

Of course cats have been domesticated for countless years. They're no
more wild than we are. We can both get by outside a domestic, civilized
setting, but we're better off with it. 

*I was gobsmacked to hear from one man that his dog shouldn't be fixed
because "he needs to have sex to be a real male, he's gotta enjoy
that." !!???!! How much projection was going on THERE, I wonder? 

And I wonder how many other beliefs we hold about cats (and other
pets) that are a result of our anthropomorphizing them? Thoughts on
that, Arden?

(Oh, and lest I come off as holier-than-thou, my two babies are in
fact indoor-outdoor. I have reasons, but no excuse.)
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #54 of 90: Lisa Harris (lrph) Thu 31 Jan 08 18:18
    
Fascinating. I am not a cat person, but I am reading along. I am truly
fascinated by the fac that there is a bad reason for outdoor cats.  I didn't
know.  My neighbors care for 3 outdoor cats.
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #55 of 90: streaming irreverent commentary (pauli) Thu 31 Jan 08 19:30
    
My cats Athena and Achilles were both strays adopted fairly young and
started as indoor cats once I adopted them.  I had screened in my back porch
for them but Athena was particularly clever and managed to figure out how to
loosen the screen and the next thing I knew they had got out.  Athena didn't
stray far but Achilles was quite the climber and went up the big tree in the
cakyard to the garage.  I eventually climbed up the tree myself to get him
down and just as I got up there he jumped down himself, just to taunt me I
guess.  We moved soon after to a place in the country and let them out until
the vet we had started taking them to told us about the greater life
expectancy of indoor cats.  I'm sure Achilles missed climbing trees tough
usually when I came home he would be in the rafters of the garage which was
as high as he could get.  We also started taking them out on leashes.  Later
we moved to another house in town and continued taking them out on a leash.
But Achilles got pretty good at slipping off the harness like Houdini and
would go "feral" once he was off the leash.  Getting him back inside without
being scratched could be a problem and he even bit me once.  But at any
other time he was the sweetest cat in the world.  Something seemed to switch
in his brain when he "escaped."  But he lived till the ripe old cat age of
18 as an indoor cat.
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #56 of 90: Sharon Lynne Fisher (slf) Thu 31 Jan 08 21:18
    
I have three indoor cats. The two boys try to escape every chance they
get. I have about a dozen barn cats, which used to belong to my
neighbor but as of October or so they belong to me. I know a woman who
works for the Legislature who is a high level volunteer for the SPCA
and she told me about a program that would let me capture the cats, get
them fixed for free, and get them back, and after the legislative
session is over I plan to start doing that because after several years
of a steady population, it's starting to grow. They're feral -- I can
barely touch them, and that only recently -- but they know where the
food comes from, and by 4 pm or so they start looking for me.

I have a friend who built a vine-covered fenced enclosure on the side
of his house for his cats to get into through a basement window.
They're "outside" but in a cage.
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #57 of 90: Carol (carolw) Fri 1 Feb 08 02:27
    
Good on ya, Sharon!  There's all sorts of info on TNR
(trap-neuter-return) at Alley Cat Allies:  http://www.alleycat.org

Paul's story reminds me to tell everyone there is what's called "Pet
Grade" screening available now.  Much tougher than regular window
screen.  I have it in my "kitty room" and it's stood up to many
climbing kitties.
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #58 of 90: Arden Moore (arden-moore) Fri 1 Feb 08 11:03
    
Carol is right - there are many ways to provide safe, outdoor access
for indoor cats. In a recent issue of Catnip (I'm the editor), we did a
product review on many of them. Earning "five-paw approval" was one
called the Affordable Cat Fence (www.catfence.com) that can be used
with chain link, wood and stone fences. 

Other products earning our Catnip "seal of approval" included
Purr-fect Fence, a freestanding cat fence (www.purrfectfence.com), Room
with a View, an expandable enclosure for windows (www.thecatsden.net),
Feline Funhouse Outdoor, a one-piece enclosure that sets up instantly
(www.wildwhiskers.com) and Cat Veranda, a lightweight, window-mounted
observation cube for curious cats (www.cdpets.com).  Learn more by
visiting Catnip's website: www.tuftscatnip.com. Our monthly newsletter
does not accept advertising and is subscription based and all articles
are reviewed and evaluated by a team of experts from Tufts Vet School.
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #59 of 90: Angie (coiro) Fri 1 Feb 08 16:07
    
This has me wondering about the personality and psychology of the cat.
Arden, you're with the International Association of Animal Behavior
Consultants.  What range of studies does that membership reflect?

How far back does the formal study of cats' mental workings go? Is it
relatively recent that pet owners have taken into consideration the
cat's individual personality? (I particularly reflected on this in our
discussion of those cats who just Will Not become indoor kitties.) What
are some of the landmark findings in the study of cats as mentally and
psychologically individual beings?
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #60 of 90: Arden Moore (arden-moore) Fri 1 Feb 08 19:13
    
Studying cat behavior is not new - it is just getting more attention
these days. Perhaps because there are now 90 million felines purring
(and okay, scratching some sofas) in American households.

Yes, I am a member of the IAABC and yes, there are many studies past
and present regarding cat behavior. Rather than feel like I am writing
a dissertation, let me point you and the Well gang to these sites to
pluck studies of your choosing on all things cat:

San Fran SPCA Cat Behavior Library:
http://www.sfspca.org/behavior/cat_library/

Healthy Cats Wellness site:
www.healthycatsforlife.com

The HSUS Cat Behavior Tip Sheet:
http://www.hsus.org/pets/pet_care/our_pets_for_life_program/cat_behavior_tip_s
heets/

About.com: cats
http://cats.about.com/od/behaviortraining/Feline_Behavior_Issues_and_Training.
htm
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #61 of 90: M (martyb) Sat 2 Feb 08 10:06
    <scribbled by martyb Sat 2 Feb 08 10:12>
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #62 of 90: (martyb) Sat 2 Feb 08 10:26
    
I think we're getting towards the end of the interview time, so I will bring
up a dog diet comment again - you can address it or not.
I see that your Real Food for Dogs recipe book lists carbohydrates as
necessary nutrients. This may be a casual shorthand for the book format, but
in fact dogs do not have a dietary requirement for carbohydrates.
It's true that dogs can use the energy from starches and sugars, and those
ingredients are cheaper. People argue back and forth on whether dogs should
get those carbs since their ancestry is the very low-carb diet of the wolf.
IMO that argument is not resolved. But they don't need carbs.

How did you come up with the recipes in the book? Are they recipes you
developed and feed to your own dogs? Did you write the recipes and then run
them past the vet, or did the vet give you a framework for the ingredients
and then you came up with the recipes?
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #63 of 90: Arden Moore (arden-moore) Sat 2 Feb 08 14:57
    
Time for me to switch from being "catty" to donning my doggy chef
apron for folks like Marty. I wrote Real Food for Dogs in 2001 (a new
version is in the works that will be "meatier") with a top veterinary
nutritionist.

Some of the 50 recipes selected are ones I cook on occasion for my
dogs and my friends' tail waggers. Others were provided by dog owners
and some by the vet nutritionist. She analyzed all the meals and treats
for safety.

The recipes were intended to compliment, not replace quality
commercial dog food. And, I purposely wanted many of the recipes to be
edible for people, too to make this cookbook a time and money saver for
people. 

Remember, this book is now 7 years old and we've learned a lot about
canine - and feline - nutrition since then. I wish the book had listed
a breakdown of calories, fats, carbs, etc. with each recipe and food
portions. Hindsight is golden. 

I've learned a lot about pet nutrition since then and that is why one
of my next books will be comprehensive and current on nutrition for
dogs followed by a book for cats.

As for my two dogs and two cats, they eat commercial food plus
meals/recipes I prepare. There seems to be a trend toward homemade
meals and "frozen" prepared raw diets these days. Perhaps the food
recall played a part. 

Now more than ever, we need to pay greater attention to what's in the
food bowl and if we do serve homemade meals for our pets, we need to
work closely with nutrition-knowledgeable vets to select the right
supplements to ensure a balanced diet.
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #64 of 90: (martyb) Sat 2 Feb 08 15:49
    
r
That's great that you're doing a new version.  The pet food recalls were
disturbing. I haven't used the BalanceIt supplement but it sounded useful
to be able to take care of the supplements with one mix, especially for
people who are new to feeding homemade food. I had had questions from some
of my relatives about making their dogs' food since they knew I did that,
and I was hesitant to make recommendations about supplements.

The BalanceIT site has a convenient food calculator that is fun to play
with, although the results aren't always quite what I expect.
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #65 of 90: Carol (carolw) Sat 2 Feb 08 16:29
    
I believe Dr. Pitcairn has recipes in his book "Natural Health for
Dogs and Cats" for cat food that have a lot of grains in them.  He even
argues that it's more environmentally sound to feed a proportion of
grain to cats.  But cats don't care about the environment!  They are
obligate carnivores and more than a very small amount of grains makes
them ill eventually. I think this is what sets cats apart from dogs,
but Dr. Pitcairn seems to lump them both together.  And of course the
pet food industry wants us to feed our cats corn, wheat and soy.

(This reminds me of what Big Ag is doing to the meat we eat -- trying
to "evolve" cows in factory farms to go from grass, which is what
they're set up to handle, to corn and soy, which makes them sick.  So
they give them the antibiotics to keep them healthy enough to reach
slaughter weight, which is why our antibiotics have stopped
working...ok I'm ranting.)

Arden, do you know any nutrition-knowledgable vets?  From what I've
seen and heard, most allopathic vets are still pushing Hill's Science
Diet and their "prescription" foods, all very low-quality.  And people
take what their vets say as gospel.  When it comes to nutrition, IMHO
vets are way behind.
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #66 of 90: (martyb) Sat 2 Feb 08 16:52
    
(carolw, I was amazed to come upon a research study on feeding cartons of
outdated chewing gum to cows - carton, packaging, metal wrappers and
gum, all ground up together. I don't know if any cows outside the study
were ever fed that way though.)
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #67 of 90: Arden Moore (arden-moore) Sat 2 Feb 08 18:24
    
Two of the most knowledgeable nutritional vets I know who are not
connected to commercial pet food companies are Rebecca Remilliard, who
operates the www.petdiets.com site and Tony Buffington, a top vet
expert on food at Ohio State. In addition, Sally Perea is the newest
adviser for Catnip newsletter and she is a consultant with DVM
Consulting in the Davis, CA area.

I will argue that there are some very talented and knowledgeable vet
nutritionists who do work at pet food companies. The pet food recall
was not only sad for pet owners whose beloved companions got sick or
died, but it also impact the industry as well. I am noting that more
and more companies are stepping up their quality control and more are
offering healthier versions of dog and cat food.

Carol is right - cats are not dogs and I am starting to see more
efforts to provide food fit for felines on the commercial shelves.
Advances in veterinary medicine AND nutrition are two big reasons why
this generation of cats and dogs are living, on average, longer and
healthier lives than those born one or two decades ago.
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #68 of 90: (martyb) Sat 2 Feb 08 21:40
    
There have been things that Dr. Remillard has written that put me off for
one reason or another (speaking as a pet owner who chooses to make a home-
prepared diet). I do think she's knowledgable.
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #69 of 90: Carol (carolw) Sun 3 Feb 08 03:14
    
Marty -- CHEWING GUM CARTONS??!  Ack!!!

Yes, that whole tainted food fiasco was sickening, wasn't it?  I felt
lucky that it didn't affect me.  Some people pointed out that some of
the most common cheaper foods -- Friskies, etc. -- weren't involved in
the recall.  And here we were thinking we were providing superior
nutrition by paying more...
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #70 of 90: Arden Moore (arden-moore) Sun 3 Feb 08 08:32
    
Just like great wine, price does not always equate to quality pet
food. That's why I always encourage people to read the label and not
decide by price alone. Carol is right that some "lower priced" cat food
did not land on the pet food recall list.

Remember, especially for cats, the first ingredient must be a real
protein - beef, chicken, lamb, fish - not "meat byproducts" or worse,
"corn or wheat."  Dogs also deserve chow where meat is No. 1.

I also realize that there is a trend among making nutritious homemade
meals -as Marty B does - it does a committment, but when done right,
pets benefit with good health. As for Dr. Remillard, she does know her
stuff. She is DVM, PhD and two-time president of the American Academy
of Veterinary Nutritionists. She gives lots of presentations at vet
conferences and participates in a lot of peer-reviewed studies. You may
not always agree with her, but she takes a stand backed by her
research.
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #71 of 90: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Sun 3 Feb 08 12:45
    
The chewing gum wrappers remind me of a story about cows being fed
plastic scrubbies--the little hand-sized plastic netting things used to
clean dishes--in order to provide some "fiber" to their guts, so they
could tolerate a virtually fiberless diet of some leftover from
industrial food processing.

Just utterly bizarre.

I am still feeding Miss Emily kibble, because it works for us, and she
loves anything hard and crunchy, but have switched brands to find one
with the meals and by products farthest down the list of ingredients. 
But she herself is not a determined carnivore--she spends just as much
energy or more trying to steal tortilla chips as she does a pat of
butter.
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #72 of 90: Carol (carolw) Sun 3 Feb 08 16:00
    
Funny girl!

Well I have to say, after looking at the petdiets.com website, that I
do not agree with Dr. Remillard on cat diets.  Not to be discounting
her credentials, but I would love for her to tell me why she thinks
cats should have carbs in a ratio of 2:1 to meat.  Her rationale is
that although cats have been carb-free the whole of their existence and
prefer to eat rodents, birds and insects, they do not always know
what's best for themselves.  !!!  

Also disagree with her assertion that pet food must be cooked to avoid
food-borne pathogens.  I know many experts that would also disagree.
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #73 of 90: paralyzed by a question like that (debunix) Sun 3 Feb 08 17:21
    
Don't know about the carb:protein ratio, but the idea that all of
their food must be cooked just seems wrong--we eat steak tartare and
sushi and salads.  There is certainly a risk with raw foods, but with
careful selection it should not be insurmountable.  

Does she only eat cooked foods herself?
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #74 of 90: M (martyb) Sun 3 Feb 08 17:35
    <scribbled by martyb Sat 19 Apr 08 23:01>
  
inkwell.vue.319 : Arden Moore, "Planet Cat"
permalink #75 of 90: (martyb) Sun 3 Feb 08 17:53
    
(condescending being my interpretation of her words, but that could be a
mis-reading.)
  

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