You Are What You Eat, Cats Included
All this talk about health and fitness lately has inspired me to tell you the story of my cat Archie and his recent transformation from “obese” to “only marginally overweight”.
First let me say that Archie has always been the sexy one in the family, regardless of his size. He is well-loved and respected by absolutely everyone, which is why he has more friends than I do on Facebook. That’s no joke – it’s the pathetic truth.
What was a joke was the fact that I was a fitness trainer and enthusiast, and I had an obese cat.
Obviously, Archie didn’t start off fat. He started off as a svelte, uber-cute kitten, the way all Siamese do.
A little background:
When Archie was young, we had two cats, one of which suffered from urinary tract problems. That cat was put on a special diet by the vet. “You can feed this kibble to both of them if you want,” he said.
“That’s easy,” I replied. “I’ll do it.” And I did. For a few years after that, both cats ate this really expensive, vet-prescribed kibble, with the occasional treat of moist, canned cat food mixed in.
Then that other cat died – he got hit by a train, but that’s another very long and very sad story.
The good thing: we still had Archie. The bad thing: Archie was getting a little bit chunky. Was I feeding him too much kibble? Perhaps. It didn’t seem that way though. I was trying to follow what the vet had told me.
Fast forward another twelve years, and we were a family with three cats, another who also suffered urinary tract problems, then kidney problems. We lost Sasha this past summer to the disease. By this time, Archie was very fat.
Terribly upset, I starting doing some research, and this is what I discovered – cats should be eating moist cat food most of the time. They should also be eating food that is as close to what they would be eating if they were left to their own devices in the wild – which means stuff that is mostly meat, very little grain, no fillers. Makes total sense, right?
In the last six months – with two young cats and the two older ones – I have been determined to do this right. I want to give them the best chance at living a long and healthy life that I can, so I’ve completely changed their feeding regimen. And guess what? It seems to be paying off.
Archie is no longer “obese”. He has lost four pounds in the last six months. He is looking leaner and a lot healthier. On top of his weight problem, he’s also had – for as long as I can remember – issues with his eyes. The vet says it’s Herpes. The vet says it’ll never go away, but we should be able to manage it with a combination of eye drops and vitamins.
With his weight loss however, his eyes have miraculously started to clear up. He is looking better than he has in years. Everyone says so. “OMG, Archie. Are you ever looking good,” they declare.
I’m not going to say anything about what the vet had prescribed, like maybe the food wasn’t the best product after all.
I’m not going to say anything about the fact that pet food manufacturers have been generally selling us crap to feed to our beloved animals.
I’m not going to say that I think dry kibble plays a big part in CAUSING obesity, urinary tract problems and kidney disease, even though I think it’s true.
I’m not going to say any of that stuff. I think the proof is in the pictures…
In case you are wondering, these are the brands that I feed my cats these days. Now, I know this stuff is expensive, but so was that other vet-prescribed food. It’s sort of like with people, if you can even use some of it, it’s worth it.
They get three small meals a day. Jackson still eats kibble sometimes because he is a picky-ass bugger, and he refuses to eat anything else. But now, I buy the grain-free stuff that has as few added fillers as possible.
As for the other cats, they all eat a combination of Tollden Farms – raw, locally-made patties of duck, rabbit, beef, chicken, and venison – as well as canned food that has no – or very low amounts of – grain and byproducts.
Even though, I am an advocate of the raw food for my cats, I have no interest in making it myself. It would take a lot of time, not to mention that it would be very messy.
I am happy that companies seem to be offering better food alternatives for our pets these days. My cats are a part of my family, and of course, I want them to be healthy and happy. I’m only sad that I didn’t know about this stuff sooner.
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