Take Your Cat To The Vet Day

It is ‘Take Your Cat To The Vet Day’ today. This doesn’t mean we should all be taking our cats to the vet today, but it is important to take your cat to the vet for regular health checks. ‘Take Your Cat To The Vet Day’ wants to raise awareness about the importance of preventive health care.

Royal Canin and International Cat Care are advocating the importance of feline health care. How often your cat should see the vet depends on their age and health, but as a rule healthy adult cats should see the vet once a year. They can get their vaccinations and you can stock up on flea and worm treatment. Your vet will also want to keep an eye on their general health and check your cat’s teeth, weight and body condition.

Older cats should see the vet twice a year, just because they are more prone to serious health problems such as kidney disease. Cats are very good at hiding signs of illness and early detection is crucial in order to prevent the illness getting worse. This will help improve your cat’s life and may make managing an illness a lot easier for both you and your cat.

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Tried and tested by Dirk: delicious KatKin meals

* Originally written by me for katzenworld.co.uk

I’ve previously written about a new brand of cat food called KatKin. Run by brother and sister Brett and Nikki they create vet-formulated cat food with high quality ingredients and 95% meat content.

I absolutely love the story behind KatKin and was very impressed by what I read. However, there is really only one way to find out how good the food is so Dirk tested a trial box.

KatKin provided very helpful instructions about how to gradually introduce the food to your cat. Some cats tuck in straightaway and have no problems switching to a new type of food, but others can be a bit more fussy. In general, cats do not like change but on an individual level they cope differently. Confident cats seem to have little issues at all. Still, switching to a new type of food can be tricky if your cat has only ever had one type of food. Rest assured that KatKin have thought of that and also added ‘sprinkles’ – small chicken flavoured treats – to its trial box to help encourage the most fussy cats transition to its food.

What do you mean I’m not allowed on the worktop?

Dirk was very curious about his new food and loved the smell of it, but when it came to eating it he was a bit more fussy than I had expected. KatKin’s instructions came in handy! I started by giving him just a small amount of the new food so Dirk could get used to the texture of his new food. KatKin’s food required a bit more chewing from him than other wet food he’s used to (I always joke that Dirk’s style of eating is ‘chewing is for wimps’).

Within a week Dirk was happily eating his KatKin food and couldn’t wait for mealtimes, sometimes quite literally…

A great thing about the trial box is that your cat can try all the flavours and when you order your next box you can leave out the ones they did not like. Dirk’s favourites were gobble, cluck, quack and oink. This is not too surprising, as KatKin recently shared that their top three favourites are cluck, gobble and oink. He was not too big a fan of beef and lamb. I am really happy that you can order boxes of food which only contain flavours your cat likes. This means you can still feed your cat a variety of flavours but without the waste of throwing away food that hasn’t been eaten. And your cat will only need one pouch a day as KatKin already makes sure of the portion sizes.

Clearly, Dirk & I are both huge fans of KatKin food and unsurprisingly the delivery box proved a great hit as well 😉

Creating the world’s best food for cats

That is the ambition behind KatKin, which is not just a new food brand but an entirely different way of looking at feeding our cats.

In my work as a cat behaviourist and cat sitter I come across a large variety of cat food. And then there’s my own cat’s food of course. If you look at the list of ingredients you’ll find that they contain sugar, rice, corn and grain, even though cats are meat eaters by nature. Many popular wet foods contain only a small percentage of chicken or beef when they are labelled as chicken or beef respectively. There are brands that are improving the standard by making sure there wet food doesn’t contain grain and consists of at least 50% meat. That still leaves some room for improvement though, which is exactly what Brett and Nikki, founders of KatKin, have done. KatKin consists of a whopping 95% real meat.

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KatKin founders Brett and Nikki with Molly, one of their ‘Chief Tasting Officers’

KatKin’s Brett explains a bit more about the journey to creating KatKin that was inspired by Brett’s and Nikki’s aim to feed their own cats the best possible food.

“We started searching for a vet nutritionist that could help us reinvent cat food, to feed cats fresh, human-grade food that is specifically formulated for cats as obligate carnivores and to do so in a way that prevents overfeeding”

“We’re laser focused on providing the best possible nutrition for cats as obligate carnivores and personalising each of our recipes for your cat’s own energy needs and tastes. Our recipes are not simply vet approved, but expertly vet-formulated by Dr. Justin Shmalberg who is a world-leading and board-certified vet nutritionist. He has carefully formulated all of our recipes to make sure your cat’s food contains all the nutrients, in the right amounts, for optimal health.”

Personalised food for your cat, I can see cats everywhere giving it a paw of approval. But how does it work?

Based on your cat’s age, weight, activity level and current body shape KatKin creates a personalised, fresh and perfectly portioned meal plan.

KatKin sources fresh, human-grade quality ingredients from trusted suppliers and individually portion every meal into daily serve pouches. Your cat’s meals are then gently steam cooked to lock in all the nutrients, moisture and flavours your cat needs, and loves, to thrive.

Your cat’s meals are frozen and delivered straight to your door on a delivery cycle that works best for you. It is delivered in eco-friendly, insulated boxes to ensure meals stay fresh until you get home. Daily-serve pouches enable easy and accurate feeding for healthier and happier cats.

The first time you order you start with a trial box. This box contains all the different recipes KatKin offers. Once your cat knows its favourites, simply log in and update their recipe selection before the next delivery. You can also pause or skip deliveries when you need to. So less waste and your cat will never turn their nose up at their food bowl again!

You can soon read about Dirk’s experience with KatKin as he is testing his trial box (spoiler alert: his current favourite is ‘Gobble!’)

Dirk’s very first Water Fountain

Many cats prefer drinking running water over drinking still water. They drink from the tap or the shower basin or splash water from their bowl before drinking it. There are several theories about the reasons behind this. In all likelihood this behaviour is largely instinctual: in the wild, cats drink moving water as this is less likely to make them sick. Cats also have an excellent sense of hearing so it is easy for them to hear and locate the sound of running water from farther away.

Some cats happily drink from their bowls, but others insist on getting into the shower after you’ve finished or will not rest until you turn on the tap to let the water run… For those tap water loving cats, a water fountain may well be the perfect solution. Drinkwell’s big dog water fountain is also excellent for multi-cat households or for those cats that like to play with their water or tip over their bowl: they won’t manage to do so with this fountain!

Dirk has never had a water fountain, but as you’ll see he proves even an older cat can learn new tricks 😉

What is this new thing???
Ah, I see, I can play with this

As you can see, Dirk quite enjoyed playing with this fountain, something he didn’t do with his water bowl. I initially left his bowl next to the fountain just in case it took Dirk a while to start drinking from it. He only drank from the bowl once after I put the fountain down so even though he hasn’t previously had a fountain he clearly prefers it over the still water. He mostly prefers to drink from the top, right where the water comes out but drinks from the bowl section of the fountain as well. I imagine cats that love tap water will drink more from the free flowing stream (and not just play with it as Dirk does!).

This particular Drinkwell fountain is plastic and is of course free of BPA. The is filtered and the constant water circulation in the bowl helps prevent bacteria growth. The water stream entices cats to drink more and thus helps prevent urinary and kidney diseases in cats. It does make some noise, but this did not deter Dirk and I didn’t find it annoying at all.

Coping With Blindness in Cats

* From my partners at katzenworld.co.uk

Advice from Vet Charity PDSA

A cat losing their sight can be traumatic, both for them and their owners. However, with some adaptation, blind cats can often continue to lead normal, happy lives.

PDSA Vet Olivia Anderson-Nathan said: “Conditions such as cataracts and glaucoma can lead to sight-loss in pets, but these illnesses usually affect older cats. In younger animals, sight-loss might be the result of an injury. Luckily, cats have an extremely well-developed sense of smell and hearing which they use to help compensate for blindness.”

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This is Flash, a blind cat I used to look after (he has sadly passed away now). He was hit by a car and lost his sight and his jaw was damaged too. This meant he needed to be hand-fed. Flash used to be a street cat but had to adapt to being blind, depending on people feeding him and living with people.

Owners concerned about their cat’s vision should speak to their vet. In some cases pets can develop eye conditions if they’re suffering from other diseases, such as cataracts, which can occur in patients suffering from diabetes. Other diseases, such as glaucoma, can be extremely painful and require immediate treatment.

The progression of certain conditions could also be slowed with treatment, so early diagnosis and treatment is very important.

Olivia added: “Your vet will check your cat’s eyes and general health to see whether there is an underlying condition affecting their sight. If a medical condition is diagnosed, they will discuss treatment options and provide guidance and support.”

How cats react to sight-loss depends on several factors. If they learn new skills quickly, then they will often adjust more easily to any impact on their vision. Older cats may already have a reduced sense of hearing or smell, so they may find it harder to adapt, though because their loss of sight is usually more gradual they often learn to compensate well.

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Flash adapted to his new life very well. He loved playing chasing games – though his carers had to be careful about making sure his environment was safe! He also enjoyed going outside and hearing the birds, sniffing interesting scents, walking around in the grass and experiencing the sunshine, wind and fresh air.

Olivia added: “Confident cats may adapt better than more anxious ones, but the amount of support an owner provides is also a big factor in helping pets adjust to sight loss.”

There are several steps owners can take to care for a cat suffering from impaired vision:

  • It’s important to help your cat learn their environment and surroundings, so keep furniture in the same place. It’s worth assessing your home and garden to make sure there are no sharp edges or items your dog could injure themselves on. Access to hazards such as fireplaces, balconies and open staircases should be blocked off and never leave anything on the floor that they could trip over.
  • Keep their bed, food and water bowls in the same place to avoid confusion. This will help your cat feel more confident in the house.
  • When allowing them outside, make sure they’re in a secure area.
  • Talk to them regularly as they will find your presence reassuring.

Olivia said: “Once they’ve adapted to the loss of vision, many pets lead normal active lives.