The Very Best Food for Your Cat is…

Alright, for starters, that was a clickbait title, and I’m not going to tell you what you should or should not feed your cat. Instead, I’m just going to tell you about PetFoodList.org

If you’re anything like me you’re probably aware of how incredibly difficult it can be to find information about cat food and that often means hours and hours of scouring the web trying to find what should be a simple answer. Sometimes you get lucky and stumble upon the one person who has the one list with the one answer you need. But, more often than not, you’re on your own.

Well, I think that’s a stupid amount of effort to ask anyone to go through, and in my frustration the idea for Pet Food List was born.

What it is

Pet Food List is exactly what the name says – a list of pet foods and treats, and everything we know about them. I decided to let the dog people in on this project, so it’s not just cat foods.

What it is not

Pet Food List is not a site that’s trying to recommend for or against any particular food or brand. It’s not a site that’s trying to sell you a particular food or brand. It’s not a site to tell you what to feed your cat for a particular health condition.

How to use it

Using Pet Food List is intended to be simple. Search for foods in your country, sort them based on whatever you care about most, check out the details of the food.

Searching

View Results and Sort

To sort the foods on this screen, just click the column header for what you want to sort on. If the double white arrows turn to a single yellow-orange arrow pointing up you’re sorting low-to-high (see Phosphorus % in the example image below). If that single arrow points down you’re sorting high-to-low.

This view is a limited selection of the information we have about the food.

View Details

The detail page has everything we know about the food. This page is my favorite because from here you can add more information about this food, report a problem with the food, or verify that the information we’ve published is accurate.

Adding, Updating, or Verifying Foods

The real magic behind Pet Food List is that it’s a crowd-sourced information project. So, if there’s a food you know about that isn’t listed, you have the power to add it to the website. You don’t need to know everything about the food to add it, just provide whatever information you do have and let others fill in the gaps.

See something that’s wrong? Well, you can give updated information, or report the problem.

The more people who are involved in expanding the list the better and more useful it will be.

CBD Oil and Cats

Guest Post by April Murphy
Cats with Multiple Medical Conditions (kidneys, heart, IBD, liver and more)

The information below was written for the Cats with Multiple Medical Conditions group on Facebook. This is a science-based support group which does not promote or accept the use of untested and unproven therapies for cats. The group post has been reproduced here with the original author’s permission.


OK everyone. It’s time to address the potentially huge issue that is CBD oil. We seem to spend a lot of time reiterating on various posts that we don’t recommend it and that no advice can be given. That still stands; however, we feel it’s time to explain why.

As you are all probably aware, little real research exists into the use of cannabis/hemp/CBD products in cats. We don’t really know what it does, if anything, to help our cats. Some of the claims that are made for relatively low doses are pretty outrageous and have no real backing scientifically. The market is completely unregulated, creating the possibility that many of the currently marketed products for cats may contain something completely other than CBD oil, may not contain enough to have any real effect beyond a placebo, or may in fact contain so much that they are actively dangerous on their own. They may also, in some cases, contain high levels of THC which is also a known toxin for cats. To add to that, there are compounds within CBD oil that are known to potentially be problematic for cats – terpenes are known to cause toxicity in cats, yet are what CBD oil relies on as that is where the allegedly active ingredients are contained. So we have a real potential issue there before we even get any further into the science of how the body processes CBD.

Next, we have to look at how CBD is processed in the body. We see recommendations on an almost daily basis that state that separating CBD oil from other meds by 2 hours will make it all safe and that there won’t be any interactions with other prescribed meds. However, none of the available evidence backs this up. Cannabis compounds are detectable in human urine up to 30 days after last use. Even if we assume that cats metabolize twice as fast as humans (and that’s not necessarily an accurate number although does appear to work for some medications like insulin), that means that CBD oil is active in a cat’s system for around 15 days…as long as the Convenia shot that so many refuse to consider for their cats due to it’s longevity in the system. And for all of that time, it has the potential to cause drug interactions. Separating it from other meds by just 2 hours is, honestly, a pointless exercise given that information.

Cannabis/hemp compounds, including CBD are cleared from the system using the cytochrome P450 mechanism. Unfortunately, the majority of commonly prescribed drugs are also cleared using this same mechanism. This means that, given that CBD is a strong P450 inhibitor (increasing concentrations of other drugs more than five-fold, while potentially decreasing clearance rate by 80%), there is a very real risk of a cat being overdosed on their prescribed meds if CBD oil is given concurrently. And by concurrently, I mean within days of the prescription meds given how long CBD lasts in the system. To give just one example, if you then add in a dose of amlodipine which is both processed by cytochrome P450 AND further inhibits it, you could find the situation where the cat actually has active levels of more than 100% higher than intended in its system – and those levels could very easily take days to clear…by which time more doses have been added potentially leading to a life threatening overdose over the course of several days/weeks. Many types of anesthesia drugs are also processed by the P450 mechanism – do we really want to take the chance that a cat is either overdosed on anesthesia should an emergency surgery be required, or that they cannot clear the anesthesia drug from their system following surgery?

On yet another note of caution, using cannabis compounds when there is kidney, liver, cardiovascular disease or any degree of immune system suppression is not recommended. There is potential evidence that these compounds can actually cause renal issues…not something we want for our cats who are already prone as a species to kidney failure.

In light of all of this, and pending further research, we have to take the decision that we cannot allow CBD oil to be recommended currently within the group. We cannot permit dosing recommendations to be given for it, especially in conjunction with any other medications. If your vet is prepared to make a recommendation then you are, of course, free to follow it but there is not enough information currently available for us to be able to offer any advice or help with its use.

Update July 9th, 2019 – this is an article about some new research that shows the potential for liver damage even without the addition of other meds as well as the CBD oil. https://www.forbes.com/sites/mikeadams/2019/06/18/marijuana-study-finds-cbd-can-cause-liver-damage/#7060739a43ff

Eco-Friendly Pee Pads

Most of the time when people talk about pee pads they’re talking about something they need for their dog. But having cats might put you in a position to need to use pee pads too.

I go through a lot of pee pads in my house because two of my cat have some litter box challenges.

Thomas likes to raise his butt up in the air and pee over the sides of litter boxes. After a lot of trial and error I finally figured out that I needed super tall litter boxes to contain him, but until I figured that out I lived with an elaborate litter box set up that involved pee pads lining the walls and floor around all the boxes.

Cat is a different story. Cat has intestinal lymphoma and goes through periods of uncontrolled diarrhea. Because of that, and because of how awful he feels when that happens, he has developed a bit of litter box aversion. He uses the box a lot, but not all the time.

So, between these two boys I’ve gone through quite a lot of pee pads in the last couple of years. On average I’m using 2 pads per day. Because of the length of time that I’ve been using them, and the amount that I go through, I’ve been very concerned about the environmental impact of all the extra plastic waste that I’m generating.

I’ve already made the switch to using compostable bags for cleaning the litter boxes, so the next logical step was to find some sort of bio-plastic option for these pee pads. A few weeks ago I found the Greenbone Bio Pet Pads and decided to give them a try. I’m really glad I did, because they are great!. They work just as well as the oil-based plastic pads I’ve been using, and I’ve not had a single leak or tear in them in all of this time.

If you’re using pee pads with your cat (or dog) and want a more earth-friendly option, I recommend giving the Greenbone Bio Pet Pads a try.

SubQ Fluids – I like the Syringe Method

When it comes to giving subQ fluids I’ve come to the point where I prefer the syringe method of giving over the drip method. I feel that way because:

  • I know exactly how much fluid I am giving or if the session went badly I know how much I wasn’t able to give
  • It’s more portable than the bag method because I don’t need to rely on hooks or IV poles to hang the bag
    • Living in an old house with plaster walls and no accessible framing studs partially made that decision for me
  • I can push the fluids more quickly than they would drip from the bag, which is great for impatient kitties
    • I can also push the fluids really slowly if my cat prefers that
    • Or, if my cat likes them to start very slow and then speed up once some of the fluid is in I can do that too
  • Starting/stopping fluids is 100% in my control, and I don’t have to struggle to find the roller wheel on the line to turn the fluids on or off
  • It’s really easy to add other medicines to the fluids when needed and I don’t have to bother with trying to attach another syringe to a line like I would with the drip method

The biggest downside to using the syringe method is that the supplies work out to being a tiny bit more expensive than doing the drip method.

With the drip method you need 1 bag, 1 line, and then enough needles to use up the bag. With the syringe method you need at least 1 syringe (I use 2), an extension line, and the needles. I normally search for sales and stock up on supplies, so I pay the same price for my syringes and extension lines as what I would pay for a single drip line, but not everyone has the ability to buy in bulk and wait for sales like I do.

The other thing I do is I splurge on butterfly needles. For me those work the best, but they work out to about 60 cents per needle instead of about 7 cents per needle. The reason I do this is because I really like a 3/4 inch needle, and I want to also use Terumo Ultra Thin Wall needles. The Terumo Sureflow Winged Infusion Set is the only way I can get both things in a single needle in the gauge I want. Otherwise I’d be stuck with a 1 inch needle, which I just don’t like as much.

If you’re interested you can look at the products I use for direct links to purchase them yourself.

Cats Love Heated Beds!

If you’ve spent any time around a cat, ever, you probably already know that they are constantly on the lookout for warm spots to sit. If they see a patch of sunlight, a running laptop, a slightly-warm charger cable for a phone or computer, or anything else that gives off heat they will naturally use that as their spot so sit or nap.

Cats with anemia, arthritis, or chronic kidney disease can benefit from having a heating pad. But, whether your kitty is sick or not, they would probably love an extra-warm bed to lay on.

There are different kinds of heated beds you can offer.

Electric Heating

Electric heated pads, like this one, are specially designed to maintain a constant heat about 15 degrees Fahrenheit above room temperature when not in use. The heat signature from these heating pads attracts any kitty looking for a warm spot. Once a cat lays on the pad it will heat up to maximum temperature of about 102 degrees Fahrenheit. Some other great features of pads like this are:

  • Can be inserted into any pet bed that has a proper cover
  • Internal thermostat control prevents the bed from heating up to an unsafe temperature, protecting kitties from burns
  • Low electricity usage and long power cords to make bed placement easy
  • Easy cleaning – just unplug the pad, wipe the outside of it with water or a gentle cleaning solution, let dry, then re-insert into the bed

Self-Heating

Self-Heating beds are a lot like an emergency blanket – rather than absorbing and dispersing body heat they will reflect the heat back into the cat. They have a lot of great features:

  • Machine washable on a gentle cycle
  • Completely portable
  • Does not require any electricity
  • Can be used indoors or outdoors
  • Can be easily covered with a pillow case to reduce the number of washings required

My favorite litter scoop!

Nobody really enjoys cleaning a litter box. Well, there’s probably somebody who enjoys it, but I haven’t ever met them.

For me, one of the worst parts about cleaning a litter box is having to deal with a flimsy scoop. Having multiple cats means that I’m scooping a lot of stuff from the boxes every day, and I have lost many scoops to bent necks and broken handles because they couldn’t handle the weight and the sheer volume of the clumps I was removing from the boxes.

For several months now I have been using the iPrimo Sifter and it is a game changer!

  • Solid metal basket and handle
  • Deep sifting basket for picking up a lot of litter in one pass
  • Perfect handle length for getting a great scooping angle
  • Small distance between slots means I can get more of the tiny chunks
  • Tapered bars to make the slots allows litter to drain really quickly without having to shake the scoop

Basically, I love this scoop!

The one thing I have learned is that this scoop works best if you’re using a fine grain litter. I had, for many years been using Dr. Elsey’s Precious Cat Ultra but I found that with this scoop the grains on that litter are a little too big. These days I’m using Nature’s Miracle Intense Defense litter, and the boxes are much easier to clean.