Cat Food Flavor Judged by Humans

I co-worker of mine sent over an article about a tasting panel that was done for cat food, with humans as the tasters. I do admit I was a little grossed out by it, but isn’t cat food just cooked fish and ‘bits? Dr. Gary Pickering, who normally compares the flavors of wine decided on this taste test because “he believes it might enable manufacturers to understand why your cat favors certain foods. While manufacturers conduct trials to see what felines prefer, it’s difficult to know exactly which flavors or textures the kitties are responding to, he explains.”

Now, I understand where they are coming from, but according to an article at Columbia Animal Hospital, “It appears, cats have a greater sensitivity to taste than people. They have about twice the number of smell receptors in their nasal passage the humans and have different culinary preferences.” So, if their sense of taste and smell is more heightened than a humans, I don’t see how this taste test can make a difference.

The article goes on to state, “Cats appear to be sensitive to the taste of water itself. While humans generally consider water to be tasteless, cats show a high sensitivity to natural variations in water flavor. This may explain why certain cats are picky in their drinking habits.” Which if they can taste the subtle differences in water (which explains a lot with my kitties) and humans can’t then how can we even compare our tastes to theirs?

What is your opinion? Do you think humans can be an accurate judge of a cat’s taste? Tell me what you think!

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Does My Cat Need A Collar?

We all know kitties are wiry, sneaky little buggers that can end up in even the tightest spaces, so yes, you cat should wear a collar with I.D. tags at all times. Cats by nature are escape artists and although most are happy to stay indoors, accidents do happen and they can escape. Because of the large number of stray cats, it is important for your cat to have a collar so if he does get out, someone will be more likely to pick him up rather than pass him off as a stray.

Choosing a Collar
There are a variety of cat collars available, but you should choose the type that works best for you and your cat. Many recommend the breakaway collars, which snap open should the cat get hung up on something. There are also elastic safety collars, which stretch when pulled, making removal easy; however, these are easy for you cat to get out of at all times, not just when they are stuck.

Fitting the Collar
When you put the collar on your cat, you will want it tight enough to slip two fingers underneath. You will want to periodically check the collar to make sure it isn’t getting too tight, especially if you have a growing kitten.

Getting Your Cat to Wear a Collar
Now you’ve got the collar picked out, it’s time to put it on your cat. If you cat hasn’t ever worn a collar, be sure that you can supervise him and that he can’t escape out of the house before putting it on. It is best to get your cat used to wearing a collar when he is still a kitten. Most kittens won’t think twice about wearing a collar. However, if you have an older cat who has never worn a collar, this could be a little harder.

You want the collar to fit properly, so if you can, try and size it before introducing it to your cat. If you cat is food driven, rewards, such as Feline Greenies, can be used to distract your cat while putting the collar on and while he wears it for the first time. Have your collar and treats ready, then call you cat over in a voice that means treat. When he comes, give him a treat. Next, place the collar next to him and give him another treat. Let him investigate and smell it and when he does, give him another treat. Once he is comfortable being around the collar, you can try putting it on him. Give him a couple of treats and while he is busy eating them, slip the collar on and snap it so it secures.

Now, this might freak your cat out and he will probably paw at it and try to get it off. Let him work out his issues with it, but keep an eye on him to make sure he doesn’t get caught up or get a paw stuck in it. Once he has calmed down, reward him with another treat. He will probably get it off eventually, but put it back on, soon he won’t even notice that he’s wearing a collar and will leave it alone. Don’t give up! You will get it.

Feline Diabetes

Sugar diabetes, also known as Diabetes Mellitus is a common disease in cats. Diabetes occurs when a cat’s body doesn’t produce or doesn’t use insulin properly. Insulin, which is produced by the pancreas, regulates the absorption of glucose, a simple sugar.

When a cat isn’t producing enough insulin, the cat’s body starts using its fat stores for food, which causes the cat to lose weight, even though it is eating the same or more food. This also causes the cat to develop a high amount of sugar in its bloodstream, which is eliminated in urine. This is one of the classic symptoms of diabetes, excessive urine and increased thirst. These four symptoms are usually what leads someone to take their cat to the veterinarian for testing.

There are two types of diabetes, insulin dependent, which is usually treated with daily insulin injections and non-insulin dependent, which is usually regulated with diet. Diabetes most often occurs in older, overweight cats.

Diabetes is diagnosed based on the clinical signs described above as well as a blood test. Once it has been determined that you cat has diabetes, your veterinarian will immediately begin to treat your cat’s condition. If left untreated, your cat can develop ketoacidosis, which can lead to death.

The treatment for your cat’s diabetes depends on the severity of the disease and how easily his blood sugar can be controlled. Some cats with milder diabetes are treated with diet and oral medications, others require insulin injections.

NOTICE: Cat Vitamin Recall

One of my co-worker’s alerted me to this recall this morning, so I thought I had better share it with all of you and your pets. I know these vitamins are sold at places like Wal-Mart. So if you have some be sure to check it out.

The Hartz Mountain Corporation Recalls Vitamin Care for Cats Because of Possible Health Risk

Contact:
Mr. John Mullane
(914) 391-0943

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE — March 7, 2008 — The Hartz Mountain Corporation is voluntarily recalling a second specific lot of Hartz Vitamin Care for Cats due to concerns that bottles within the lot may have been potentially contaminated with Salmonella. Hartz is fully cooperating with the US Food and Drug Administration in this voluntary recall. Hartz recalled a specific lot code of Hartz Vitamin Care for Cats last November due to similar concerns. Both lot codes were manufactured for Hartz by UFAC (USA) Inc. in 2007, and were removed from distribution last November. However, bottles from the second lot had been shipped to customers prior to their having been removed from distribution.

Salmonella is an organism which can cause serious infections in young children, frail or elderly people, and others with weakened immune systems, all of whom are at particular risk from exposure and should avoid handling these products.

Salmonella symptoms may include fever, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and nausea in both cats and humans. Anyone experiencing the symptoms of Salmonella infection should seek immediate medical attention. Owners of cats exhibiting these symptoms should also seek veterinary assistance.

The product involved is 739 bottles of Hartz Vitamin Care for Cats, lot code SZ 22771, UPC number 32700-97701. While normal testing conducted by Hartz and UFAC has not revealed the presence of Salmonella in any Hartz products, recent sampling conducted by the FDA did detect the presence of Salmonella.

Although the company has not received any reports of animals or humans becoming ill as a result of coming into contact with this product, Hartz is taking immediate steps to recover this product from consumers. Cat owners should check the lot code on their bottles, and, if the code is not visible, or if the bottle has lot code SZ 22771 or lot code SZ-16371 imprinted thereon, they should immediately discontinue use of the product and discard it in a proper manner.

Consumers can contact Hartz at 1-800-275-1414 with any questions they may have and to obtain reimbursement for purchased product.

Shedding Season is Right Around the Corner — Get Out Your Furminators!

Now before I started working at PetSupplies4Less, I had no idea what a Furminator was, all I knew was that I brushed my cat with a slicker brush. Now don’t get me wrong a slicker brush works good, but that is nothing compared to the Furminator. We’re talking fur the size of an entire cat here folks!

The Furminator looks kind of like a clipper blade with a handle. It has short tines that pull away dead hair from your pet’s undercoat, leaving a nice shiny coat. The brush is very well made of durable plastic with a metal comb. The ergonomic handle makes it easy and comfortable to use. It is also available in a variety of sizes, so you can get the one that works best for your pet. Plus, according to the Furminator web site, it reduces shedding by 90% — yes 90%!!

Their web site also shows video demonstrations of the tool in action, you won’t believe how much hair comes off these pets! Go on over and check it out.

All I can say is that I’m very happy with my Furminator and the cats love to be brushed with it. What is your experience with the Furminator? Do you like it?

Want to try one? Get a Furminator today at PetSupplies4Less.com!

Professional Pet Sitter’s Week

If you use a pet sitter, send some flowers or a note this week to tell them how much you appreciate them caring for your pet while you’re gone!

Pet sitters do much more than just feed and water your pet while you are away. A professional pet sitter will spend quality time with your pet as well as provide play and exercise time. Pet sitters often will not only care for your pet, but will bring in your mail, water your plants and turn lights on and off to help deter crime.

A pet sitter offers both you and your pet many benefits.

Your pet gets:

  • the environment he knows best.
  • his same diet and routine.
  • relief from traveling to and staying in an unfamiliar place with other animals (such as a boarding kennel).
  • attention while you’re away.

You get:

  • the peace of mind that comes from knowing that your pet is being cared for by a professional.
  • someone to bring in your newspaper and mail so potential burglars don’t know you’re away.
  • someone who will come to your home
  • other services, such as plant watering and pet grooming.

Just because someone has the title of professional pet sitter, doesn’t mean that they are qualified to care for your pet. Here are some things to look for when choosing a pet sitter.

According to the Humane Society of the United States, when looking for a pet sitter, you should keep these things in mind:

It’s important to learn all you can about prospective pet sitters’ qualifications and services. Before selecting a pet sitter, interview the candidates over the phone or at your home. Find out the following:

  • Can the pet sitter provide written proof that she has commercial liability insurance (to cover accidents and negligence) and is bonded (to protect against theft by a pet sitter or her employees)?
  • What training has the pet sitter received?
  • Will the pet sitter record notes about your pet, such as his likes, dislikes, fears, habits, medical conditions, medications, and routines?
  • Is the pet sitter associated with a veterinarian who can provide emergency services?
  • What will happen if the pet sitter experiences car trouble or becomes ill? Does she have a backup?
  • Will the pet sitter provide related services such as in-home grooming, dog walking, dog training, and play time?
  • Will the pet sitter provide a written service contract spelling out services and fees?
  • If the pet sitter provides live-in services, what are the specific times she agrees to be with your pet? Is this detailed in the contract?
  • How does your pet sitter make sure that you have returned home?
  • Will the pet sitter provide you with the phone numbers of other clients who have agreed to serve as references?

Even if you like what you hear from the pet sitter and from her references, it’s important to have the prospective pet sitter come to your home to meet your pet before actually hiring her for a pet-sitting job. Watch how she interacts with your pet—does your pet seem comfortable with the person?

To help your new pet sitter and your pet get accustomed to one another, you might want to take a weekend trip and see how everything works out. This will give you a better idea if your pet sitter and your pet are made for each other.