By Jeanann Pannasch for
When our daughter began teetering around our home independently, I became seriously concerned about the dust on the floor surrounding our feline powder room. How could I be sure it was safe?
I soon realized that our litter was clay-based, meaning it was created through strip-mining (a process that is massively destructive to the earth), and the silica dust left behind was a health risk to our kitties’ lungs as well as our own. Fortunately, there are litter alternatives, including those made from newspaper, wheatgrass and pine. We made an easy transition to a pine variety and voila: No dust underfoot and less impact on the earth!
If your pet is a pooch, you can easily green your walks with biodegradable waste bags. These corn-based sacks break down and begin composting within days. Of course, if you want a truly earth-conscious pet, bring home a guinea pig or hamster. These fuzz balls eat little, create minimal waste and are blissful in their cages, earning them top billing as the greenest pet. Plus, you can’t beat holding your pet in your palm!
Jeanann Pannasch is an editor at The Feminist Press, and a former editor at Ms. and Spin magazines. She’s written for Ms., Self, The Women’s Sports Foundation, MSNBC.com and LifetimeTV.com. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, four-year-old daughter and two long-clawed cats.
From the Editors of
Cats have a reputation for being particular about their diets, because they like their favorite foods served at just the right time and place.
If your cat quits eating, however, your swift action is critical, says Dr. Marla J. McGeorge, a veterinarian who runs a feline-only practice in Portland, Ore. “If your cat doesn’t eat for more than a day, it should go to the veterinarian,” she advises. “It doesn’t take very long for cats to develop a liver disease from not eating.” Liver failure occurs when fat accumulates in the liver due to a lack of protein.
Recognizing the typical reasons cats stop eating is a first step in protecting and helping your kitty. Your cat’s loss of appetite could be caused by one of these issues:
- Respiratory infection The ability to smell is a trigger for your cat to eat, says McGeorge. If your kitty sneezes, suffers from watery eyes and sounds congested, it probably won’t show enthusiasm for its dinner.
- Nausea If your cat frequently licks its lips, approaches the food dish, then backs away, it’s likely nauseated, says McGeorge. It’s difficult to tell if your cat has eaten something that upset its stomach or if it suffers from liver disease or other illnesses that cause nausea. Your veterinarian might order laboratory tests that will help clear the mystery, says McGeorge.
- Pain or trauma It’s a good idea to examine your cat for wounds or injuries, says Dr. Josie Thompson, a veterinarian who runs a cats-only clinic in Walnut Creek, Calif. The resulting pain or underlying infection could understandably decrease your cat’s hunger.
- Ingestion of foreign objects or poison Plants, string, ribbon and pieces of toys can become obstructions, possibly even poisoning your kitty.
- Age-related issues “Older cats are more at risk due to kidney problems, bowel disorders, heart disease and cancer,” explains Thompson. Older cats might suffer from arthritis, limiting their ability to bend to food bowls located on the ground. As cats age, such dental problems as abscessed teeth and bleeding gums can make eating painful.
- Change in food or location Changing your kitty’s food abruptly can lead to a loss of appetite, says Pam Johnson-Bennett, a Nashville-based cat behaviorist. Moving the location of your kitty’s food dish may also cause problems. For example, cats won’t eat if their dish is too close to their litter box. Your cat will also avoid meals if it feels threatened by another animal in a multi-pet household.
- Household changes The addition of a new pet, the departure of your son or daughter for college, or a move can all affect your cat’s appetite. Pay special attention to your kitty’s food intake during such times of transition.
What You Can Do
If your cat isn’t eating, try to entice it with these four steps:
1. Heat the food. The aroma of warm canned cat food just might tempt your kitty. However, make sure you just add warm water instead of microwaving, cautions McGeorge. Microwaves can heat unevenly, and you risk scalding your cat’s mouth.
2. Offer food by hand. The attention you pay to your cat while you feed a few morsels by hand can make a difference.
3. Adjust for age. Consider soft food if your elderly cat has tooth issues. Elevate the food bowl if your kitty is arthritic.
4. Provide a safe, quiet location. Make sure your kitty is comfortable with the location of its food dish. Set up several feeding stations in a multi-cat household.
Your veterinarian remains your best resource when your cat quits eating. Some owners hesitate making the call, figuring their cat’s appetite might return or worrying they’ll make a veterinary visit for no reason. “The big message from me is to bring your cat in,” says McGeorge. “The best thing you can hear is your cat is fine.”
Formed in October 1997, TigeraCat Rescues was officially founded in October 2007. TigeraCat Rescues began as a small group of normal people with a deep respect for the world we live in and an even deeper love of the creatures we share it with. Our Founder/Director, Mrs. Larson, has been rescuing animals privately for more than 20 years and, with the help of family, friends, & neighbors, finally decided it was time to do more. Seeing a need for education and cooperation among cat-lovers, animal-lovers, shelters, rescuers, & community members everywhere, she joined with others like her to make it happen in Iowa! TigeraCat Rescues was formed with the gracious & generous help of people JUST LIKE YOU, around the state, nation, & world!
To promote and encourage the humane treatment, health, and welfare of animals and to educate the public concerning the care, treatment, and welfare of animals with emphasis in felines.
TigeraCat Rescues does not have a paid Staff. All board members, administrators, & staff are VOLUNTEERS.
TigeraCat Rescues is funded strictly through donations. It does not receive any government grants or funding. Your support and donations are what makes saving lives possible, and since we have no paid staff, 100% of your support donation goes directly towards saving the animals!
Citizens have a right to have their government spend their tax dollars not on programs and services that kill animals but on those that save and enhance the lives of animals and protect animals from cruelty — Citizens have the right to full and complete disclosure about how animal shelters & other animal welfare organizations operate.
Here at TigeraCat Rescues we want you to be fully informed about what you are suppporting. Therefore we provide our adoption #s, euthanasia rates, live-release rates, etc. and annual financial summaries upon request. We hope to have it all available online, very soon. In the meantime, just send us an email, and we’ll be happy to send it to you!
Incorporated, State of Iowa, May 26, 2009 Animal Welfare License, #9548, State of Iowa Dept. of Agriculture & Land Stewardship. IRS 501(c)3 Charity Status: Effective May 26, 2009.