Archive for June, 2012

Feline Obesity – Part 1 – The 4 Step Program Doesn’t Work

There is so much talk about the obesity epidemic that is now affecting our cats and dogs. While this is absolutely true, there is so much more talk about how to combat this growing problem, most of it false.

Before the invention of kibble, it was not necessary or recommended to put food down for your cat for the day. Why would your cat need food constantly? Yes, wild cats eat many small meals per day. However, the food needs to be found, hunted, killed and then eaten. This repeated scenario takes time and energy. Unfortunately for our cats, kibble is actually a matter of convenience for us humans. I’ll admit, I found it rather appealing when I adopted my first cat. Put down kibble, go to work, party with your friends afterwards, go home, go to bed, get up the next morning, repeat. Continue reading

Cats Cannot Taste Sweets

Sweetness is detected by a specific receptor protein (‘taste bud’) in the tongue. Cats are known to be insensitive to sweet tastes. Researchers analyzed the genes encoding the taste buds in twelve different carnivorous species, including cats. They found that those species such as cats, whose diet is exclusively meat-based (obligate carnivores), had lost the gene encoding the taste bud for sweetness. Other affected species included dolphins, sea lions, seals, otters, and hyenas. It appears that the ability to taste sweets has been lost in most carnivorous species since a meat-based diet does not consist of sugars or carbs, there was no need to be able to detect (or enjoy!) these substances. Continue reading

“All Natural” Ingredients

I find this advertising statement rather amusing. It frequents many human and pet food packages. Mercury, strychnine, and feces are all natural yet I do not want my cats to eat any of them. Don’t be fooled by advertising and pretty photos on the packages of cat food. Often these statements and photos are not legally considered “false advertising” however, they are frequently misleading and misrepresent the food and ingredients in that bag or can. Continue reading

The Physics of Cat Lapping

Cats and dogs drink differently. Dogs use their tongues like a scoop to lift and pull water into their mouths. Cats, on the other hand, rapidly flick the tip of their tongues on the water, drawing up a column of liquid to their mouths.

Watching in slow motion reveals that cats of all sizes have a very elaborate way of drinking. First, they move the tip of their tongue onto the surface of the water to flick the water up so that a little jet of liquid flies into the air. Then, in a flash, they catch the jet in their mouth.

No one knows why cats have developed this method of drinking but it may be because they did not need to develop a fast and efficient way of drinking since they evolved in the desert and receive most if not all of their water from their prey. Continue reading