So, what’s your cat getting for Christmas this year? If you’re like most cat people, you’re looking for toys, and you’re buying them online.
The most reviewed cat toy on Amazon: The Catit Design Senses Play Circuit, a long “peek-boo-track” with a colorful ball inside.
Going To The Dogs
Amazon’s Top Ten
- Fashion’s Talk Cat Toys Variety Pack: A collection of catnip toys, balls and a wand toy.
- SmartyKat Skitter Critters Catnip Mice: Three mice come in one package.
- KONG Naturals Crinkle Cat Toy: Two fish make a crinkly sound and have long feather tails.
- Cat Charmer: A long piece of fabric for kitty to chase is attached to the wand of this popular toy.
- KONG Cat Cozie Kickeroo: This is an 8.5″ long catnip kicker made from plush fabric.
- Catit Designs Play Circuit: The Play Circuit has almost 4,000 reviews on Amazon!
- SmartyKat Feather Whirl: This electronic toy looks like fun if your cat likes feathers.
- PETFAVORITES Original Mylar Crinkle Balls: Most cats love Mylar crinkle balls, but these may not be the best choice. Read the reviews before you buy.
Tip For Christmas Shopping For Cats
- Make sure the toys are big enough for adult cats. Many toys, especially the bat and swat toys that you put on the floor for the cats to play with themselves, are designed for kittens, not adults.
- Cats don’t care whether their play mice have eyes and bells, and sewn-on eyes and bells can be a choking hazard.
- Look for toys that are durable and well-made. There’s nothing more frustrating than catching a “mouse” and having it fall apart at the seams.
- Avoid toys that are filled with nutshells, beans or polystyrene beads. These, too, could be a choking hazard if the toy falls apart.
|A “skin” holds the NoBowl cat
So you’re thinking your cat’s sort of fat and lazy. Here’s something that might get him up off the couch and slim him down.
The NoBowl Feeding System provides portion-controlled dry food meals in little plastic containers that fit inside “skins.” The skins look and sort of feel like mice.
The idea is to hide the “mice” around the house, so your cat has to hunt for his food.
How Cats Like To Eat
Instinct tells cats to eat several small meals a day. Outside, they might hunt and eat what they catch as many as 20 times in a 24-hour period. And Mother Nature doesn’t present their food in plastic bowls or on cute ceramic dishes.
Their mealtime ritual is to watch, pounce, shred their prey with their teeth and then eat it off the ground. No dinnerware needed.
Veterinarian Susan Bales, who developed the NoBowl system, says “food is only half of the mealtime equation.” Hunting, she says is just as important. And when we deliver our cats’ food to them in bowls, we’re “denying them the ability to fulfill this instinct.”
Looks Like A Mouse, Feels Like A Mouse… Sort Of
Sounds Great, But…
The question is, will cats hunt for dry food? If they can’t smell it from a few feet away, will they even bother looking for it? If the “mouse” doesn’t move and squeak like a real one does, is the thrill of the hunt missing from the equation?
And cats love routine and predictability almost as much as they love catching things. Cats who live outside and spend their days hunting still appreciate finding a bowl of food delivered to the same place at the same time every day, although they’d probably be just as happy with only the food and no bowl.
I envision very hungry, grouchy house cats if they have to spend their days tracking down motionless, almost-odorless bits of cereal, which is what dry food really is.
My cats don’t eat dry food because it’s so bad for them in so many ways. And we don’t have plastic dishes. But if we did this, I think I’d use the mice to replace the bottomless bowl of dry food and leave them in places that were easy to find. Then, the cats would have the fun and stimulation of “killing” their food, even if they didn’t have to hunt for it. They’d still get their wet food in bowls, in the same place, twice a day.
If you want to try the NoBowl Feeding system, you can buy it online on Bales’s website. And if you do try it, I’d love to know what your cats think. You can tell us in the comments section below.
Open Farm, a Canadian pet food company, recently introduced its Certified Humane dry cat food in the US market.
To be certified humane, food must come from farms where animals can express such natural behaviors as flapping wings and moving around freely in their environments.
They must also live free of cages and gestation crates and be raised without antibiotics, growth hormones and animal by-products.
|© Rasulov – Fotolia.com|
Americans spent $13 billion in the pet specialty market in 2015, and most of that money went to chicken-flavored food.
Except for Sizzle. He’ll eat anything I put in front of him, although he’s not crazy about beef.
All of these are available only from your veterinarian, of course.
Most vets love prescription food because it’s an easy source of steady income. After all, cats have to eat!
But if you’re willing to do some research, you can find food that meets your cat’s special needs on most pet supply retailers’ shelves.
For instance, several cat food manufacturers make wet food with novel proteins for cats with food sensitivities. And the best diet for cats with bladder stones and crystals is all wet food and no dry, even if the wet food is something as simple as Fancy Feast.
|© Olga Sapegina | Dreamstime.com|
Of all the awful diseases that can affect our cats, FIP is the absolute worst. It’s a cruel disease, and it’s almost always fatal. But that could be changing.
The first phase of clinical trials for a drug that could cure FIP ended this fall.
In a study published in the March issue of PLOS, researchers at Kansas State University treated eight cats who were sick from FIP with the antiviral protease inhibitor, GC376. Sadly, two of the cats became so sick they were euthanized. But the other six recovered and were still doing well eight months later. And that was just the beginning.
Last winter, in collaboration with the Kansas State Researchers, UC Davis veterinarian Niels Pedersen began the first phase of clinical trials of GC376 with 13 “owned” cats.
The Cure For FIP Is Still A Long Way Off
They learned that treatment requires at least 12 weeks and will cause a rapid reversal of FIP in some, but not all, cats.
One of the questions that remains to be answered is how long the remission will last.
But even after the researchers have finished gathering information, it could be a long time before GC376 is available to veterinarians.
First, Pedersen said in an interview with Catster, they’ll need to find a pharmaceutical company that’s willing to take GC376 through the long and expensive Federal Drug Administration testing and approval process.
Since “a company may not find it economically viable to spend the money necessary to gain FDA approval for a disease for a single animal species such as FIP,” he added, “I would not want to speculate on if and when this particular drug may become commercially available for use by veterinarians.”
Help For Cats With FIP Now
Prednisone, interferons and some supplements and antioxidants can extend the length of life and improve the quality of life for cats with FIP.
To learn about treatments, take a look at leading FIP researcher Diane Addie’s handout for veterinarians. And join the Support and Info for Owners of FIP cats email list on Yahoo Groups or the group’s FIP Fighters Facebook page. You’ll find all the information and support you need if you’re caring for an FIP cat.