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We understand it can be stressful for both you and your cat to make it to the vet's office, so we would like to help reduce some of that stress. Here are some helpful tips.

Before the trip:

    white car
  • Consider using a carrier with a removable top
  • Leave the carrier in plain sight the day before or several hours before your visit
  • Wipe down or spray the inside of the carrier with Feliway no sooner than 10 minutes before leaving
  • Before attempting to put your cat in the carrier, take 5 deep breaths, listen to music, or picture yourself on a beach or in some other calm setting
  • Drink a cup of lavender or chamomile tea

When ready to go:

  • Close your bedroom doors to reduce the areas that your cat can hide
  • Place the carrier on the edge of a table or counter 
  • Take 5 more deep breaths
  • Calmly pick up your cat and place him or her head-first into the carrier and shut the door
  • If this doesn't work, put the carrier on the floor with the door facing up and put the cat in backwards (behind-first).
  • In the car, consider playing classical or calming music

Let's talk cat nutrition and pet food ingredients. There have been a lot of buzz words and phrases thrown around without a lot of education as to the meaning. "Grain-free" and "by-product meal" are a couple of examples that I see on television all the time. Each commercial pet food has their own niche and advertising objectives that are important to note.

Let's start by defining some of these words and phrases:

  • Cat Eating Pet FoodGrain — the seeds of plants (such as wheat, corn, and rice) that are used for food.
  • Gluten — the protein-containing portion of the plant extracted.
  • Meat by-product —a usable product other than flesh obtained from slaughter animals including edible organ meats and various inedible products (such as hair and bone).
  • Meat by-product meal — those by-products dehydrated and ground into a powder. FYI – this still has a very high-protein, low-fat and low-carb content.
  • Meat meal — Meat/animal flesh dehydrated and ground into powder.

Do cats NEED grains? No. Do cats NEED by-products? Some (such as heart, kidney and liver), yes. A grain-containing cat food is not necessarily harmful to a cat unless they have a sensitivity or the amount of grain in the food far outweighs the meat.

Pet Food Meat and Bone MealAs a cat-only veterinarian I see cats every day on a variety of diets so I can offer my observations on health and diet. Most cats that I see as a new diabetic are on a diet high in high-glycemic index carbohydrates, not just grains. That means a diet high in starchy ingredients that creates fast blood sugar spikes like white potato, white rice, corn meal (remember meal means concentrated – dehydrated product ground into powder), and brewers rice (a by-product of rice production for humans that lacks nutrients of the whole grain rice). This does not mean that if these products are in the food at all your cat will get diabetes

My observation with my own patients is that foods with these products high on the list of ingredients (remember they are arranged by weight of product contained in the food on the ingredient list) means they are getting way too many high-glycemic index carbohydrates creating fast glucose spikes. These spikes tax the pancreas to secrete a large amount of insulin. Over several years of taxing the pancreas, it starts to get tired and shut down. Let's take a look at a couple ingredient lists and analyze them.