Grief always blindsides me.
RIP Rosie 2002-2016
Grief always blindsides me.
RIP Rosie 2002-2016
Some suggestions for cat owners, and what I do for my IBD kitty – some litter box talk, fair warning.
The posts have been very makeup and cosmetic-centric in the last couple of months, so I thought Rosie deserves some post-love. Granted, this is more about Rosie care than a post about my cat, thankfully. It’s been a while since I’ve spoken about her. She’s a Bengal cat, and like many of her breed, suffers from Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It’s an autoimmune disease that’s often triggered by commercial pet food since cats are obligate carnivores, and the corn, rice, grain and processed foods we feed them can cause a bad immune response in their gut.
Her symptoms started showing about 2010-2011 when I had to move a few times in the span of 2 months, and her stress level just skyrocketed. She had been showing some of the symptoms here and there, but they weren’t regular enough for me to think they were more than a sensitive stomach on occasion. When she started vomiting bile a few times a day, and had diarrhea or loose stools for long periods of time every few weeks, it was obvious something was wrong.
Feeding her a raw meat diet kept her symptoms at bay for about 4.5 years. The enzymes and the minimal processing did wonders, but as with all progressive diseases, eventually, the sick cat came back.
I found a great vet who specializes in felines (although he is a general vet, as well) and who not only had knowledge of her problem, but keeps doing research on new medications, what techniques might work, dietary suggestions, etc. His name is Dr. Luckow in the Bronx, and even though it’s a 20-30 minute drive, he’ll stay Rosie’s vet as long as I’m in the NYC area.
She’s been on 5mg prednisone since she dropped to 5lbs and I thought the time had come to say goodbye. It’s kept her symptoms down and helped her gain some weight back, although he has to check for enlarged liver, and other problems while she’s on such a high dose. He also charges me only $5 for a month’s prescription. It’s hard to find a NYC vet who won’t gouge you on meds.
Another issue is that eventually, her body rejects her diet, so I have to switch her from time to time. I was feeding her Hill’s Prescription z/d Diet, which worked for about 2 months or so before all hell started breaking loose. It’s not raw, it’s super processed to break down the proteins, and when she started to react badly to it, the smell…oh, sweet Lord, the smell. Plus, poor Rosie was very uncomfortable, in pain a few times a day, and was losing weight, again. I had hopes for this because it’s made specifically for animals with allergies and gastro problems, but alas, she will never eat dry food, again. Oh, well. Feeding raw can be very inconvenient because you can’t leave food out.
I changed her diet, again, and she’s as well as she was doing before the big breakdown last fall. I hope this lasts, but we’ll see.
I have to admit, her diet isn’t cheap, however, it’s far cheaper than all the procedures most veterinarians would insist on, and Dr. Luckow understands that the tests are invasive, expensive, and don’t necessarily change what you’re going to do for the cat.
Here’s a list, more or less, of the foods we’ve gone through the last few years that have kept her doing alright:
Natures Variety Instinct raw for dogs and for cats. The dog formula is far simpler, and works better for her right now (plus it’s cheaper).
Stella and Chewy’s raw frozen or freeze-dried. The freeze-dried is prohibitively expensive for my budget, but she loves the frozen.
Feline Instincts has a mix you re-hydrate (it has minerals, organ meat, ground bones, etc your cat really needs) and mix with fresh ground meat, freeze in portions, and serve. It has the benefit of choosing your own protein, ie rabbit, venison, chicken, but you have to have freezer space (I used small plastic containers that held enough for 2 days so I could keep a day ahead thawed). It’s also cheaper, and picky Rosie liked it. I had to stop because I have space on the door of the freezer where I live, and that’s about it.
Nature’s Fresh Whole Foods: FreshPet Grain Free Chicken & Ocean Whitefish With Carrots & Spinach. It’s not raw, but it’s humanely raised meats and whole ingredients before the vitamins and minerals. It needs to be refrigerated, she loves it, and it isn’t very expensive. At Whole Foods I pay about $5.50 for a small bag. (cheap!)
Let’s go back to the litter box
An ex boyfriend used to call me “very particular” about how I liked things, referring to how clean I want a home. Multiply that a few times for the litter box. I scoop it 1-2 times a day, I sweep any tracked litter every day, and I wipe the insides down with a paper towel and natural cleaner when I scoop.
I have never entirely liked any litter until I tried Precious Cat Litter. It is the lowest-tracking litter I’ve ever used, it clumps very hard and doesn’t break into bits when you scoop, and since I use the scented pink box (you can barely smell it, but whatever it is, works), so I only faintly smell urine if some leaks out from the seam. (she sprays when she goes, and sometimes a bit drips out from under the lid, so I use a mat I can clean underneath the box).
I will never use another litter as long as I can get this brand. Ever. They are so sure of their product, they’ll refund you the price of your first box/bag of litter with this form so you’ll try it. (cheap!) If you have cats, and you’re disciplined enough to scoop regularly, you will never switch back.
The next posts will include beauty, food and other cheap, yummy, and shiny things, so remember:
I have a lot of expensive cat toys…that are completely ignored
My cat is far too smart for her own good. She’s a bengal, and has all the qualities that go along with the breed: loud, chatty, needy, playful, active, curious, and easily bored. (plus health things, but not this post)
I always look for ways to keep her occupied for a few minutes each day so she doesn’t feel bored or antsy, and when I got a package filled with biodegradeable packing peanuts, I thought, ah-ha!
Box. Cat. Crunchy things.
I hid a few treats in the middle of all the peanuts and she spent a good 10 minutes digging around, pulling out the peanuts and enjoying all the crunchy sounds and throwing them around. Plus, she loves her some yummy treats. She did 3 rounds and I put it away for another day.
Rosie is older, so doesn’t do much playing fetch (yes, she does that), or running around chasing a string any longer, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t still need to have mental and emotional stimulation. When it comes to older pets, creative toys can be simple, and cheap!
Much Kitty Love,