Monthly Archives: April 2017

Class Action Lawyers See Something Fishy In Prescription Cat Food

Your cat may demand a crystal dish, but she won't want it filled with prescription food.

Class action attorney Mike McGlamry always thought there was something fishy about prescription cat food.

Although you can buy it only from a vet, and it costs a lot more than nonprescription food, some of those nonprescription foods available at pet supply stores seem to have the exact same ingredients.

McGlamry and lawyers in California, North Carolina and Minnesota have filed a class action antitrust complaint in the US District Court for the Northern District of California alleging that prescription pet food is no more than a marketing scheme designed to boost profits.

Prescription Cat Food – One Big Corporate Family

Defendants in the complaint are names you’re sure to recognize: Mars PetCare, Nestle Purina and Hills Pet Nutrition. PetSmart, the nation’s largest pet food retailer, Banfield Pet Hospitals and Blue Pearl emergency and specialty hospitals are also named in the complaint.

Mars PetCare owns the Royal Canin brand and Banfield Pet Hospitals. It also has an ownership stake in Blue Pearl and has plans to acquire VCA later this year. VCA owns animal hospitals, Antech Diagnostics; Sound, a global imaging company; and Camp Bow Wow, dog daycare and boarding facilities.

What’s In That Prescription Cat Food?

Prescription cat food is formulated to address specific conditions, like obesity, kidney disease, diabetes, urinary tract issues, food sensitivities and even hyperthyroidism. The food contains no medicine; it’s the ingredients that are said to be therapeutic. It all comes with the admonishment that the cat has to stay on it for life.

But most prescription foods contain inferior ingredients. And cats, who are notoriously careful eaters, often recognize a bad product when they see it and refuse to eat it. The hunger strike could go on indefinitely, or until “Mom” caves and buys something else.

The cost of the food, along with the stress of trying to get cats to eat something they don’t like can become a real burden for loving humans who are just trying to do what the doctor ordered.

Alternatives To Prescription Cat Food

For most cats, there are alternatives to prescription food that are less expensive and more likely to pass the taste test. For instance, many obese cats will lose weight on an all-wet-food diet, and an all-wet-food diet will help control a diabetic cat’s blood glucose levels.

Several manufacturers make food with novel protein sources, so cats with food sensitivities have no need for prescription diets.

If you have a cat with a medical condition that could benefit from a special diet, talk to your vet about alternatives to prescription cat food. And if there’s no help there, join a disease-specific email list. List members can recommend food that will help your cat’s health while pleasing his palate… and your bank account.

Cats Sink Their Claws Into The Donald

Donald Trump cat scratching post
Donald Trump scratching post

One of the really nice things about cats is that they’re completely apolitical. Your cats will never call you a sore loser or tell you to “just get over it.” But despite their total indifference to human politics, most would love nothing more than taking a few well-placed jabs at our new president, especially if he was covered in sisal rope rubbed with catnip.

Not that Politikats has it in for Donald Trump. Just about any politician is fair game when the online company is designing scratching posts. The Bernie Sanders, Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin posts are sold out. But Hillary Clinton posts may still be available if seeing your cat tear her to shreds would do your heart good.

The scratching posts are 26 inches tall on a stable 26-inch wide base and are made of recyclable ABS plastic wrapped in sisal. The politicians’ heads are resin-based and hand painted with lead-free paint.

Sounds like fun for the cats. And if you can’t stand the thought of seeing your least-favorite politician in your living room, you could always turn the post so s/he is facing the wall.

ASPCA Joins The Million Cat Challenge

So far, the Million Cat Challenge has saved more than 700,000 lives.
© Eric Isselée –

It’s been less than three years since veterinar- ians Julie Levy and Kate Hurley sent out the challenge to North American shelters: Can we save a million cats in five years?

So far, it looks like the answer is “Yes!”

Levy is director of Maddie’s Shelter Medicine program at the University of Florida, and Hurley heads the UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program. Since they started the Million Cat Challenge, more than 750,000 lives have been saved, and more than 1,100 shelters in the US and Canada have signed on to help reach that million cat goal.

Soon the number of participating shelters could get a boost from the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Earlier this month, the huge nonprofit announced a partnership with the Challenge that will, among other things, bring more attention to the plight of shelter cats. ASPCA statistics show that cats are less likely than dogs to get out of shelters alive.

Five Initiatives Could Save 1 Million Cats

With financial support from Maddie’s Fund, Levy and Hurley started the Million Cat Challenge in 2014. The project consists of five initiatives, including managed admissions and providing positive alternatives to admitting cats to shelters. For instance, the shelter could offer counseling to help resolve a cat’s behavior issues.

Other initiatives include removing some of the barriers to adoption and returning feral or outdoor cats to their outside homes after they’ve been neutered/spayed, vaccinated and ear tipped.

Your Own Million Cat Challenge

Your own Million Cat Challenge
© wildshots4u –
While the Million Cat Challenge is directed at shelters, all of us can help save a million cats or even more. After all, saving lives is everyone’s responsibility, and no cat deserves to die in a shelter. So here are some things you can do.
  • Neuter/spay your house cats and any outside cats you feed. Every spring, the shelters are flooded with kittens, and there aren’t enough homes for them all. 
  • Ask your local shelter to participate in the Million Cat Challenge. Even if the shelter works on just one initiative, it will save lives.
  • Become a foster for your shelter. Every cat who leaves makes room for another coming in. Shelters should never have to kill cats to make room for more. And parting with that foster when the time comes is easier than you may think. There’s nothing more rewarding than saving a cat’s life and seeing him or her go to a wonderful forever home.
  • Resist the urge to “rescue,” and leave feral cats outside. They’ll be happier and healthier if you trap and neuter them and return them to their outdoor home. And feral cats rarely come out of shelters alive. 
  • If your cat has behavior issues, seek advice from someone who truly understands cats. That person might not be a vet! 
  • If you have to move, search until you find a place where your cats are allowed instead of taking them to a shelter. Don’t give up! You’ll find a place eventually. 
  • If you cat has a health problem that’s too expensive for you to treat, ask for financial help. It’s there. All you have to do is be determined to find it. 
  • Make arrangements for your cats’ care if something happens to you, no matter how young or old you are. Too many cats relinquished to shelters because their people are ill and are no longer able to take care of them. 
  • If you must rehome a cat, adopt him out yourself instead of taking him to a shelter. Cats “show” better when they’re in their own homes. And remember, most shelters kill cats to make room for more. So if you keep your cat until he gets adopted, you could be saving two lives, not just one. 
If it was me, I’d change the name of this initiative to the Every Cat Challenge because no cat deserves to be caged and then put to death in a shelter. Every life is precious, and every cat counts.

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