Many people know it is better to feed and eat fresh rather than processed foods and have committed to do this. Then their animals, especially cats, say – “No way – I want my dry food candy only.”
Trish wrote about this: I have a new cat in my life that spent a year in the pound and was a stray prior. My others always ate raw or cooked – she won’t eat anything but canned and dry. My homeopath (who is retiring )and vet both concur that what’s most important is that she eat. Any suggestions? I’ve tried everything I can think of as I’ve been doing homeopathy etc with my animals for years.
Also, what are examples of good diets for cats – both fresh prepared. I realize raw is best but I live on a small island so I have to go with availability too. Checked out Lily’s kitchen as per your blog but it is in the UK. And….there are a lot of herbs in the food. What are your thoughts on the many organic prepared foods that have herbs in them and alfalfa. I’m wary to give medicinal herbs daily…but most have them in there!
First, I thought homeopaths never retired!!! It is good there are homeopaths for people and animals who work well by phone.
For cats or dogs who will eat canned food:
This is easier since cats can be healthier on canned foods than on dry, so first step, Trish, is to completely stop the dry food. Put some in bags in the freezer for times of illness when only dry food will tempt her to eat.
Anytime an animal is having trouble eating, or who are ill and not eating, or just do not like certain foods, try doing Reiki on the food. This often works.
I am sure you have tried all different foods – cooked and raw meat; canned tuna/salmon/sardines/mackerel/oysters/clam juice/other seafood; deli roasted chicken (something about the basting juice really gets them going); any vegetable (had one patient who would only eat broccoli and cauliflower when ill); any dairy products; tomato sauce; commercial freeze dried foods & freeze dried treats; dehydrated fish (Kitty Kavier or Bonita flakes from Asian market); commercial frozen raw foods (I know that is not readily available for you on an island in BC and local is better anyway; melons – anything you eat.
When to tempt is another trick – while it is true that cats have livers that may be sensitive to problems when not eating (only in ones whose vital force is weak that way), you can decrease the amount fed with no danger. Cut back for several meals, then offer some fresh food. When hungry they are more likely to try something new. Anitra Frazier of the Natural Cat book talks about really thinking about how good this food will be for your cat, how tasty, how yummy. Let the food sit for 10 or 15 mins and take it up.
If you find she loves some people food -bagels and cream cheese or tuna, whatever – use those to tempt her to eat new foods. Soak meat in tuna juice. Take some of the dry food from the freezer and use a coffee mill to finely puree it and roll raw or cooked meats in it.
Another trick once you have a canned food she will eat is to cut up the raw meat very fine and mix with the canned food.
When cats will only eat dry food (few dogs will only eat dry if offered canned):
First, switch to a grain free dry food. Then stop feeding free choice (although some cats do fine with this – one woman who runs a behavior list serve feels cats in the wild snack so she feeds dry free choice and her cats live over 20 – every animal is different).
Then try many brands of canned food in the teeny tiny cans, as well as A/D from Hills (I know – that is not a great brand, but this one will often tempt sick or picky cats to eat). Powder the dry food and put a sprinkle on top of the canned food.
Keep following the tricks listed above, especially keeping your companion hungry and saying, “look at this great treat I have for you.”
Lots of good books give even more tips on getting those finicky eaters on a fresh diet.
Use holistic treatments: Maybe they just are not healthy enough to switch, so try homeopathy (the constitutional remedy), great Chinese medicine, chiropractic, Reiki, Flower Essences, HTA, TTouch, Reconnective Therapy or others.
Question 2 – good fresh diets for cats. I am assuming that Trish is asking for brands of raw meat diets (which she would have to mail order, so I would not suggest that). I do not stay on top of every brand. There is one I love from Virginia, Chow Now, where the chef visited every farm to be sure every ingredient was sustainably, organically raised with no chemicals. She even snooped in their sheds and visited their feed and hay sources! Bravo has been a mainstay from day one and offers different levels of quality for different prices. It is up to you to ask the owners where they get their ingredients.
Herbs in foods are not necessarily bad. First, if they list a lot of herbs it is probably just a marketing ploy. Read about each herb (I love Greg and Mary Tilford’s Herbs for Pets book). Alfalfa, for instance, is considered a food source for large animals and totally safe by the FDA. In animals with anemia, or in horses, you need to watch the quantities fed. I doubt that the dose in food is very large. It is an appetite stimulant, so probably a smart choice for a food manufacturer. Yucca, with similar principles, is more irritating and cannot be fed long term.
I recommend feeding a good variety of foods, so not food would be fed long enough to cause problems.
I could write for days on feeding…but I won’t. Read the many great books on nutrition and general health care, then ask specific questions that I will try to answer. Once you agree that processed food is not the best, there are hundreds of opinions of what to feed, so use the Healthy Animal’s Journal (or make one of your own) to carefully evaluate current health status, then try different diets and see what changes. One woman found that 1 Tablespoon of brown rice added to 5 C of food for her big dog was needed. She was observant and took good notes.
There are also great list serves with archives, so I am barely touching on facts to answer your question, Trish. Hope it helps.
Comments are welcome.