Hi, Everyone. Alana writing here. I wanted to do a quick post about nutrition, and Crepes is still sleeping off her birthday party, so I thought now would be a good time.
As my bio says, I’m a big believer in quality nutrition, both for myself and for my pets. I am not a dietician, nor am I medically trained in any way. However, I have done quite a bit of research on my own time and, having put into practice the things I’ve learned, come up with some ideas on what I feel is a good way to eat for myself and my little friends.
Just as a background for all of you, I myself was having a good number of food allergies over the last few years. None of them registered on tests at the doctor, but they caused me a number of problems including allergic rashes on my face (how embarrassing), digestive discomfort (also embarrassing), weight that I couldn’t lose, and frequent headaches. I am an avid Crossfitter and decided to give the Paleo diet a try. For those of you not in the know, the Paleo diet includes proteins, fats, lots of vegetables, some fruits, nuts and seeds. As much as possible should be organic. What’s excluded? Dairy, added sugar, wheat, and grains. I gave it a go for awhile. How did I feel? Good enough to continue with it. I sleep better, lost a large amount of fat and gained muscle, rarely have headaches, and almost never get sick. I tried adding dairy back into my diet, and it turns out that I ought not to do that. I think I’ve found something that works for me, but what about my pets?
A few years ago, I noticed that they were fat. All of them. As kittens, Rocky and Niles ate the usual canned food/free fed dry food diet obtained at any grocery store. As they got older, they started to slow down. I switched them to a grain free diet, but still allowed them to free feed. As I found out later, grain free does not mean carb free, and my little guys were still rather pudgy. My local pet shop here (Liz’s in Chicago) persuaded me to try a raw diet. I wasn’t sure at first, but when I put it down on the floor, none of them refused it. Not one. Even the dog, who has a peculiar eating ritual that includes regularly ignoring her food, loved it. I kept them on it and, after their carb withdrawal subsided, they really perked up. They’ve all slimmed down to a healthy weight. All of them have more energy and sleep less. The fourteen year olds run around more than they did when they were seven. Rocky has regained his jumping abilities, which were diminishing as he got heavier and slower, and Mrs. P no longer looks like a mini zeppelin.
The biggest change I noticed, however, was in Crepes. When we adopted her, she was very sickly. We were told she’d never be able to breathe normally. Her sniffling was so loud, we could find her just by listening for her labored breathing. She regularly got eye infections and always seemed ill. After adopting her, we put her on the raw food diet, too, and started giving her raw goat’s milk. Within weeks, her sniffling disappeared, her eye infections cleared, and she now seems just as healthy as the other cats. Similarly, a few years ago I brought a friend’s cat into the vet. He was suffering from constant herpes eye infections that were painful and weeping. The doctor diagnosed him with FIV and said to “keep him comfortable” because it wouldn’t take long. We changed his food. That was five years ago and since then, he’s rarely ill.
Am I a doctor? No. A scientist? Nope. But I eat. Every day. And I watch what my pets eat. Carefully. And I am a firm believer that diet should be clearly examined and carefully thought out. Healthy foods may cost more, true, but in the long run, it may save money in vet/doctor’s bills.
So tell me, what are your thoughts? I’m curious to know what other people are doing out there and if you’ve ever had any success stories with a change of diet. What do you feed your pets? (Please note, my comments box might not be working because of some Host Gator migration issues that still haven’t been solved. Please feel free to comment at http://facebook.com/catinthefridge