~Thoughts for Thinking People~


~ An excerpt from The Truth About Pet Foods ~

(Dr. W.)  An important advance in nutrition is the discovery that there is a difference between overt nutrient deficiencies (causing conditions such as rickets, anemia, blindness, etc.) and nutrition necessary to optimize health and prevent a host of more indirect, subtle and chronic diseases. (Petfood Industry, July 1998:39.)

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Pet foods that are designed to achieve "average" levels of nutrition for prevention of classical nutrient deficiencies (so-called "100% complete" foods) fall short of this newer knowledge.  They are most certainly not "100% complete."  Being just barely good enough is not really "100% complete."  Being just barely good enough nutritionally is like barely good enough parachutes or fire extinguishers. The risk is too great.
The confusion, even blindness, of researchers and regulatory agencies (however well intentioned) is apparent in the following incredible contradiction by authors with D.V.M., Ph.D. and specialty board certification in veterinary internal medicine and nutrition:  "These protocols (the authors are discussing AAFCO [Association of American Feed Control Officials] feeding trial studies) were designed to assure that pet foods would not be harmful to the animal and would support the proposed life-stage.  These protocols were not designed to examine nutritional relationships to long-term health or disease prevention."  (Veterinary Forum, October 1992:34.)
In other words, a food could cause disease and destroy long-term health yet at the same time "not be harmful," "support life" and be classified as "100% complete"!  So after a pet has been fed the "proven" food for a period of time equal to the duration of an AAFCO study (26 weeks), all bets are off.  The "100% complete and balanced" food may then be starving or poisoning the animal with the blessings of the academic, professional, scientific, governmental and industrial pet food establishment.
When researchers set nutrient requirements they use statistics.  A bell curve is created which is a statistical distribution to determine what the requirement would be for the average majority.  If an animal falls in the middle of the bell curve for every nutrient (each nutrient has its own bell curve) all may be well.  But each edge of the bell curve also represents a number of animals for which the "average" dose is either too little (creating a deficiency) or too much (creating possible toxicity).  There is a good chance that any specific animal (as opposed to a statistical average) will be on the edges of the curve for at least one of the nutrients.

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(Brad Francke, D.V.M.)  House soiling is the most common behavior problem reported by cat owners. Determining its cause can be a diagnostic challenge for your veterinarian. Differentiating a behavioral problem from a medical problem is often the first step.     

Cats with medical problems do not always act "sick," but rather can change behavior such as inappropriate urination. The longer this behavior persists the more likely it is to become a habit, so prompt veterinary diagnosis and intervention is important.
Inflammation of the urinary tract may cause painful, frequent and bloody urination. The blood may not be evident with the naked eye and often requires microscopic examination of the urine for diagnosis. The cat will sometimes learn to associate urinary pain (dysuria) with the litter box and seek other areas for urination. Diabetes, as well as kidney, liver or thyroid diseases can be associated with an increase in thirst and urine production leading to selection of additional sites for urination, especially if the litter is not cleaned frequently. Age related diseases such as arthritis, which interfere with your cat's mobility, could also lead to difficulty in using the litter box.
Once medical problems have been eliminated as a cause of the inappropriate urination, behavioral causes must be evaluated. Often an extensive history and assessment of the household is necessary. In general, urination on vertical surfaces (spraying) is often a result of anxiety, conflict or territorial marking. Elimination on horizontal surfaces generally occurs in cats that have an aversion to the litter, litter box location, or just prefer urinating in other areas. Some important things to consider are:
  • Is there one type of surface upon which your cat urinates?     
  • Is there a certain location he/she prefers?     
  • Are there other pets in the household that disturb the cat when using the litter box?     
  • Have there been recent changes inside or outside the house that have upset your cat?     
  • Has there been a recent change in the litter type, location of the litter box or design of the litter box? (Keep in mind that larger cats may need larger litter boxes and older cats and kittens may need litter boxes with lower sides.)
Inappropriate urination can be a vexing problem that threatens the human-animal bond. A full resolution involves early intervention followed by investigation to determine the underlying problem. Teamwork with your veterinarian involving close observation, a complete history, examination and appropriate testing are all crucial to keeping cats and the people who love them living in harmony.

Best of health to you and yours from all of us here at Wysong