You may wonder why the long break between Issue 2 and Issue 3 of our Newsletter. The short answer is that we have relocated both our home and our office just before Christmas 2016. We have now emerged from the chaos and are back in full swing. Welcome to Issue 3 of our Newsletter, we hope you find it interesting. If you missed the previous issues you can find them here Issue 1 and Issue 2
In this issue:
Which is man’s best friend?
Pet friendly offices?
Avoid overfeeding your cats
Foods dogs and cats should not eat
Which is man’s best friend?
For as long as we can remember dogs have always been thought of as man’s best friend. It now seems that dogs are being overtaken by cats in peoples’ affections as some statistics show that there are more households in North America and Europe owning cats than dogs. Perhaps it’s as simple as the fact that you don’t have to take cats for a walk in all weathers which has turned the tide in favour of our feline friends.
Certainly it’s true that cats can have a negative effect on the environment with a growing cat population wreaking havoc on numbers of small, wild birds. But, from studies carried out, we also have a lot to be thankful for in having cats in our lives it seems.
The Cats Protection charity has produced a summary of the benefits of owning cats based on a number of scientific studies.
For older people cats can be a great source of comfort and companionship without the issue of taking them for a walk two or three times a day, which is difficult for some elderly people. For many older people cat ownership provides them with a sense of purpose, particularly if they are living alone. Just having to feed and care for a cat brings value to their lives and makes it the more enjoyable.
Stroking a cat has been shown to relieve stress and reduce blood pressure from which many older people may suffer. Having a cat also makes older people attentive to their own needs and improves their sense of well being.
The benefits of cat ownership or even their presence mean that Residential Care homes and day centres now allow cat ownership or allow resident cats into their homes and centres.
Also, cats can have beneficial effects on children. Being taught how to treat cats in the home can bring lessons for later life, teaching them to be responsible and caring adults. It seems that often children prefer to share their feelings with a pet rather than with another person and cats are great at keeping secrets. Studies in the USA and UK report that exposure to cats in infancy may reduce the occurrence of asthma and other allergies later in their childhood.
Even for adults there is a growing body of evidence showing that cats can be beneficial to both physical and mental health. Cat owners appear to get much pleasure from stroking and grooming their cats. This can lower stress levels, reduce blood pressure and improve owners’ moods. Cats have been shown to be particularly helpful to those adults suffering from depression, dementia or autism and help in the recovery of trauma victims.
With these many benefits to cat owners of all ages, it’s not difficult to see that cats could soon challenge the position of dogs in humans affections as ‘a person’s best friend’.
Pet Friendly Offices?
My apologies but we’re back to quoting studies again. Apparently, the ubiquitous studies have also shown that allowing pets into certain workplaces can have very positive effects on the working environment. It’s probably obvious to most of us that there are going to be certain workplaces which will not qualify as they will be downright unsuitable.
You may be unaware of this but pet-friendly workplaces have become more common in both the US and UK over the last decade. In 2016, Banfield Pet Hospital in the USA conducted a pet-friendly workplace survey about having pets in offices. Two thirds of the respondents indicated that prospective employees asked whether the environment in which they were applying to work was pet-friendly. The same survey showed that 53 respondents indicated that they would be more likely to remain in their jobs if they were allowed to bring their pets to work with them.
There are indications that pet friendly workplaces help break down barriers which prevent human interaction. Even employees who did not own pets felt that they liked to play with animals who were brought into the workplace. This helped to create a more relaxed and sociable workplace and removed some of the stress which might be present.
The consultant clinical psychotherapist and stress expert, Terri Bodell, has been quoted as saying that ”pets at work can help employees to relax, reduce heart rate and lower blood pressure , which can decrease absenteeism and improve staff morale.”
Of course, the opposite may occur when you find your chair occupied by someone else’s dog or cat when you arrive for work or a cat and dog fight breaks out in the middle of the day. So some considerations and rules have to be introduced to ensure that the arrangement works to everyone’s advantage, including the pets who are brought into the workplace.
There may be an existing requirement to allow service animals into the workplace for those employees who rely on them. These needs have to be dealt with delicately and with due consideration of the needs of the employee for the animal in question.
Regardless of any existing requirement to allow service animals into the workplace, employers need to have policies in place to determine which animals will be allowed to attend regularly.
Your workplace might just not be suitable at all for pets and will be a no-go area from the get-go. Employees may be allergic to animals or may have a total fear of animals as some people do about dogs or even cats.
These considerations have to take into account for the health and safety of your staff and the animals which may be allowed into the workplace. There is also any damage the animals allowed into the workplace may wreak on the environment and who is responsible for paying to have that damage repaired.
So, pets in the workplace clearly does work to the advantage of human employees in certain, safe, workplaces, but, equally clearly, it’s not for every workplace or for every employee.
Employers, think long and hard before you take this step.
Avoid overfeeding your cats
Oftentimes, cat owners don’t really consider fully the needs of their felines when it comes to diet and water. There are five common errors owners often make when providing food and drink to their cats. Here’s what those errors are and how to avoid making them.
The wrong diet
Because it’s simple and does not spoil the longer it remains in the food dish, dry food or kibble is often seen as the answer to the cat owners prayers. This is particularly true if you are at work all day and need to leave your kitty sufficient food to keep it happy until you arrive home again.
The problem is that an all dry food diet is definitely not good for your cat. Kibble contains a very low water content and another part of the problem is that cats do not drink water like dogs do. This combination places stress on the cats kidneys and liver and can lead to feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD) which can be very dangerous and lead to death in days if not treated very quickly.
The ideal food for cats is based on their ancestral diet of raw, unprocessed, organic food in its natural form which includes animal meat and replicates the food which cats in the wild would dine on, which is small animals such as rodents.
If feeding your kitty fresh food which is raw or lightly cooked is not possible then the next best thing is dehydrated or freeze dried food which can be reconstituted with plenty of water or broth.
If your cat is already overweight then avoid a diet which is high in fiber which does not provide the nutrition your cat needs. Look for ways of reducing the amount they eat but make sure it is a really well balanced diet which contains antioxidants and omega 3 essential fats.
Make plenty of water available to your cat
Cats living in the wild derive water from the animals they capture and eat which are made up of approximately 70% water. This provides all the hydration they need. So cats are used to obtaining their water supply through their diet as they are not great drinkers. You can evidence this by the number of times that your cat drinks from their water bowl and how long they drink for.
Effectively, you need to ensure a bowl of fresh water is available 24/7 and is refreshed at least once per day, but they still need to obtain most of their water needs through their food. That’s why feeding them on a kibble only diet is not good for them as it contains only up to 10% water and we’ve already spelt out the dangers of this.
If your cat won’t drink still water from a dish or bowl then consider buying them a cat water fountain which will provide them with moving water. Some cats just prefer water when it’s moving.
You need to examine the wet food you’re feeding your kitty to make sure that it contains at least 70% water which good manufacturers will provide in a nutritionally balanced cat food.
Remember, the consequences of your cat receiving insufficient water in their diet can lead to illness and shortened life. Water is as important to their lives as it is to our own good health.
The all you can eat diet
Sadly, many cats owners believe that any time the food dish is empty is the time to refill it so that the cat in question just gets to eat whenever it wants, which does not replicate what it would do in the wild. You are effectively taking away the need to hunt or even leave the house. Constantly feeding your cat can lead to an overweight or even obese monster who is constantly pestering you for food.
There are a number of theories of how often a cat should be fed in a day. In the wild, it would hunt when it was hungry and the interval between meals would be dependent on the size of the last prey that it killed and ate and the amount of energy it used in capturing it. We have seen theories expounded that suggest that feeding anywhere between once to four times a day is the right number for a cat. This is for you to decide depending on your circumstances.
Work out the maximum quantity recommended for your cat depending on age and levels of activity and divide this maximum by the number of times you can provide it with fresh food each day and that may give you an indication of how much food per meal you should feed it. If in doubt seek advice from your veterinary practitioner.
Treats for cats are becoming one of the fastest growth items in the pet food industry. Sadly, this is leading to a large number of overweight cats and dogs. Dog owners are traditionally more likely to buy treats for their pets than cat owners as they are given as a reward for good canine behavior. However, cat parents seem to overdo the treats nowadays and don’t seem to know when to stop. We all know that’s an easy trap to fall into. We’ve done it ourselves!
If you are going to feed your cat treats try to make sure they are of high quality which means they do not contain grains, added sugar, artificial preservatives, rendered animal byproducts, chemicals or ingredients known to be allergenic to pets. If in doubt, make a list of the ingredients on the packet and look them up on the web.
If you’re feeding your cat a high quality wet food which they like then see if the manufacturer also makes treats. If so, you may be on to a winner.
You might also want to consider producing your own home made treats for your cat. There are lots of recipes available on the web from which to choose.
If you do continue to feed your cat treats made by manufacturers then make sure that they make up no more than 10-15% of your kitty’s daily food ration. Ideally, it should be less than 10%.
Households with multiple cats
If you have a household with more than one cat mealtimes can be fraught as there is competition to finish the meal before another competitor gets to it. This leads to stressed out cats and kittens.
We know this sounds like making more work for you cat owners but, if you do have more than one cat in the household, try to arrange it that they are fed apart from each other, ideally in separate rooms. This removes the element of competition as each cat is shut off from the other and allowed to finish their meal in peace at their own speed.
This also provides you with the knowledge of whose appetite might be dropping off or suddenly picking up dramatically. Either sign may be an indication of an illness which should be closely monitored. Don’t forget that cats are not like dogs which hunt in packs. Cats hunt alone and do not share their kill. The same goes for their food at home.
Dangerous Foods for Cats and Dogs Part 3
This section continues the suggestions we gave in Issue 2 of our Newsletter.
Foods Cats Should Not Eat or Should Eat Sparingly
Raw meat and fish: As with raw eggs for dogs (see below), there is always the possibility of E coli and salmonella in raw meat and fish. Both of these bacterial strains can cause danger to your cat through food poisoning which can also lead to severe dehydration. Additionally, there is an enzyme present in raw fish which destroys thiamine. Thiamine is an essential B vitamin which is needed in your cats diet and a lack of thiamine can lead to convulsions and coma.
There are a number of pros and cons to feeding a cat a raw food diet and careful consideration should be given to your own attitude to handling raw food and the potentially high cost of a raw food diet, particularly initially when you don’t really know what your cat will and won’t eat.
Treats: We’ve already discussed earlier the dangers of giving your cat too many treats but there’s no harm in emphasising the dangers that overfeeding your cat with treats can lead to. At best, too many treats can lead to your cat becoming overweight and lazy. At worst, it can lead to obesity and even diabetes and those are conditions you don’t want to see your cat suffer from.
So, be sensible about feeding your cat treats and heed the advice earlier about the percentage of their daily food intake which is made up of treats. Ideally, it should be less that 10% of the daily food intake.
The Kitchen Pantry: Whilst this is not a food your cat should avoid, it is an area of the home to which they should not be allowed access. There are possibly many items to be found in your kitchen pantry which could harm your cat if they managed to get their paws on them.
Although many items in your pantry may be kept in cans and bottles and kitty won’t be able to get to the contents, there will be other items which are stored in packets which a good set of claws and a determined cat will soon break into if they really want to see the contents. Just a few examples from our own pantry revealed items such as flour, leaf tea, ground coffee, nuts, chocolate and baking flour. None of which will be good for kitty if they eat them. So make sure your pantry isn’t left open for either your cat or dog to raid.
Foods Dogs Should Not Eat or Should Eat Sparingly
Bones: Feeding bones to dogs has often been recognised in the past as being good for them but this has now become a more controversial topic. This is because chewing bones can cause a dogs teeth to break and cause damage to the enamel. Also cooked bones are brittle and can easily splinter and the splinters can cause perforations to the intestines which cannot be good for any dog.
Raw bones do not splinter but they can contain bacteria which can cause sickness and diarrhea. Be aware that your dog can chew much of the bone away so that what’s left can be swallowed whole and any chunks they swallow can cause intestinal blockages. If you think of feeding any bones to your dog, either consider alternative treats to replace the bones or consult your veterinarian if you’re unsure of the consequences.
Persimmons, Peaches and Plums: All of these fruits, whilst good for humans in most cases, contain seeds or pits. Dogs can swallow the pits from peaches or plums which can lodge in their throat and cause them to choke or, if it reaches their intestines it can cause serious blockages. Additionally, the pits of both peaches and plums contain cyanide which is poisonous to both dogs and humans. Humans pretty much know that they shouldn’t be eating the pits from these fruits but dogs are not quite so knowledgeable as us.
The seeds from a persimmon fruit can cause problem’s in a dogs small intestine and they are best avoided for that reason.
Raw Eggs: A number of dog owners nowadays feed their dogs on a raw diet. This may also include uncooked eggs. Owners always need to take care when feeding a raw diet to a dog. The origin of the raw food is of great importance, making sure that the way the food has been handled reduces the risk of the food containing E coli and salmonella.
Many veterinary medical associations do not think that feeding raw eggs in a dog’s diet is good for the dog. The harmful bacteria possibly present in the eggs can cause vomiting and diarrhea and lead to dehydration. If you are thinking of feeding your dog raw eggs as part of their raw food diet, it may be wise to consult your veterinarian first.
Next Newsletter Issue
Look out for the next issue of the Pure Pets Plus Newsletter which will be coming in the next month. We promise we will not be relocating again for some while as it’s too exhausting, so there will not be a gap in production. We promise lots of current and interesting topics and the conclusion to our series on foods which are bad for your dogs and cats.
If you missed our previous Newsletters or want to see any of our Blog articles click here to find them. We hope you enjoy them.