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How to properly socialize your new kitten

Introduction            

     A proper introduction is absolutely critical to assure that your new kitten and existing pets can have a well-adjusted, happy, friendly future relationship.  Without taking the proper steps to introduce your new kitten, you could end up with pets that may never get along and miss out on a possible close, loving, shared bond between your pets.  As with humans, often the first impression means a lot, and you want the first impression between your new kitten and your existing pets to be calm, and loving, not stressful, and potentially harmful.

 

Steps for a proper introduction

 

  1. Quarantine your new kitten away from your other pets for a period of at least 7-10 days. This is to ensure that your new kitten gets enough time to destress from the travel and to begin adjusting to the new home slowly before adding the additional stress of meeting the other family pets. Also in case your new kitten were to come down with a stress related illness at that time everyone will stay safe.

 

  1. After the 7 day quarantine period, your next step is to begin slow introductions. The best way to do this is to either set up a large crate or use a travel carrier.  A large crate is the best option, I advise asking friends and family or checking at your local vet’s office or animal shelter and ask to borrow a crate, because you will only need it for a short period of time.  Set the crate up in the common area of your home, your living room is a good option, and includes a littler pan, bed, toys, food and water, and a heat source for your cat. 

 

Aggression

 

Your new kitten will stay in the crate while introductions are made, and during this time, it is critical to monitor for signs of aggression. It is completely normal and acceptable behavior for the resident cats to approach the crate and sniff and even hiss a few times.  Exhibiting some warning hisses and growls are okay and they should be left to express themselves.  However, if they continue to hiss and growl/howl for than more than a minute straight, this is excessive, and the cat should be removed to try again later.  If an aggressive cat is allowed to continually hiss and growl at the kitten even through the safety of the crate, this can leave a permanent fear in the kitten and ruin the chances of the cats forming a good relationship.  Therefore, be very diligent to keep close watch and if aggressive behavior continues for more than one minute, take the cat away for one hour.  Try again after an hour and continue to remove the cat again until any aggressive behaviors are kept under one minute in length. 

 

Socialization Tricks

 

There are several great tricks you can use to help speed up the process of introducing your new kitten to your existing cats/pets. 

 

  1. Giving the pets treats together is one of the best ways to socialize them to one another. To accomplish this, you will give treats to the kitten while they remain in the crate and give treats to the resident pet immediately outside of the crate at the same time. This trick allows the kitten and the resident pet to associate each other with a positive award when they are around each other. 
  2. Play with the pets with toys together; this works best when socializing two cats together; again, keeping the kitten in the crate and the resident cat outside of the crate. Great toys for socializing include treat toys, puzzle games, wand toys for catch and chase and laser pointers.

 

  1. Use pheromones to keep cats calm and keep the introductions calm and peaceful. Good products include “Feliway” diffusers, which can simply be plugged into the wall receptacles in-the same room as the kitten in the crate. Also there is a product called “Comfort Zone” which employers the same concept.  Another option which is very successful is the use of a calming collar, such as the product “Sentry.”  Be sure if using the “Sentry” collars to use on both the resident pet and the new kitten to maximize effectiveness.

 

  1. Rotate the pets by allowing the new kitten to be free to roam the house and put the resident cat into the crate or into a room. This is very important to allow the new kitten to explore their new surroundings in peace without the additional tension of the resident cat(s) other pets being present. Be certain to first show the new kitten the location of the litter pans in the home prior to setting them loose.

 

  1. Another critical step in helping to ensure a happy transition for your new kitten and resident cat(s) is to be sure to add one additional litter pan into the home. Even if you already have multiple litter pans in your home; the rule is to have one more litter pan than you do cats. For example, if you already have two resident cats you should have three litter pans; and with the addition of the new kitten, your home should now have four litter pans. 

 

  1. It is also very important to be sure to provide your new kitten with the proper litter pan and litter. Be sure to speak with your kitten’s breeder to determine what type of pan and litter they were using in their previous home, to help facilitate a smooth transition to proper litter pan behavior in the new home.

 

  1. Feeding time is another hugely beneficial opportunity for proper socialization and introductions. The best way to utilize feeding time as a socialization technique is to feed one cat inside the crate and one cat outside of the crate simultaneously. Placing the outside food dish 2-3 feet outside of the crate on the first feeding, and if all goes well, gradually move the dish closer and closer to the crate with each feeding time.  Use this technique only with wet food, you do not want to use dry food and leave it down, as the continual presence of food can create aggression and negate your socialization attempt. 

 

  1. Visitors; while it is understandable how anxious you will be to show off your new kitten and have all of your friends and loved ones meet them; this is not the time for visitors. Give your new kitten time to adjust to everything that is new to them and their surroundings. Focus on them meeting their new family members and other pets first, and then invite your visitors over only after the quarantine period is complete.

 

Carefully follow proper introduction techniques and protocols, and your new kitten will have a smooth, happy integration into their new forever homes with you.  Remember any problems or issues arising during the process; be sure to reach out to your breeder for help.  Patience and time are the key for success.  Your new baby will be in your life and home for many years to come so be sure to take the time and patience necessary to give them a great start!

 

Please note: This article has been provided for informational purposes only. If your pet is showing any signs of illness, please consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible. A raw food diet may not be appropriate for all cats in all stages of health and we always recommend having your cat examined and discussing diet changes with your veterinarian.

 

Keep those Hairless Kitties Healthy and Happy Everyone!!!

 

Text: Copyright © April Arguin RDH, Founder of LiLNudists Sphynx & Bambino Cattery. All rights reserved. 

 

 

How to Choose a GREAT Cat Food!

Safe and Healthy Formulas for Your Feline Friend

 

We Put In The Work To Find The Best

 

We analyzed 1,759 cat food formulas and found 8 favorites that were produced by a trustworthy brand with high-quality, risk-free ingredients.

1,759 Cat food formulas

 

Cat food conversations are littered with passionate opinions concerning whether or not cats should eat like they do in the wild or if they should avoid carbs, if they should consume dry food for better dental health or if they should eat wet food for better hydration, and the like. For the average cat owner, the ongoing debates make it challenging to figure out what a healthy diet looks like for a domestic cat. To find the best food for your cat, it’s essential to figure out which opinions are rooted in science, which are long-standing myth, and which are somewhere in between.

 

Our Top Picks

  1. Addiction Grain Free Canned Cat Food
  2. Blackwood Chicken Meal and Field Pea Recipe Grain Free Dry Cat Food
  3. Earthborn Holistic Wild Sea Catch Grain Free Natural Dry Cat & Kitten Food
  4. Fromm Gold Holistic Adult Dry Cat Food
  5. Lotus Just Juicy Pork Stew Grain Free Canned Cat Food
  6. Now Fresh Grain Free Adult Recipe Dry Cat Food
  7. Redbarn Naturals Salmon and Delilah Grain Free Canned Cat Food
  8. ZiwiPeak Daily Cat Cuisine Venison and Fish Canned Cat Food

 

READ MORE CLICK BELOW…

 

Feline Herpes Virus

Understanding Feline Herpes Virus

Feline herpes virus is considered the most common cause of feline upper respiratory infections.  It is better known as the “common cold” in cats.  Feline herpes virus is caused by the FHV-1 virus which is contracted from direct cat to cat contact.  Although all cats are at risk, cats which are pregnant, have a low immune system, and kittens under 5 weeks old are most at risk for serious complications.   

 

Symptoms of Active Feline Herpes Virus

Some cats can become infected with the herpesvirus and never present any outward signs or symptoms, but simply remain carriers all of their lives.  These cats will not transmit the virus to other cats while they are asymptomatic.  Other cats will continually shed the virus and present outward symptoms, and are contagious to other cats while shedding the virus.  Symptoms which can be associated with the virus include any or all of the following:

 

  • Sudden, uncontrollable attacks of sneezing
  • Watery or pus containing nasal discharge
  • Loss of sense of smell
  • Spasm of the eyelid muscle resulting in closure of the eye
  • Eye discharge
  • Inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye (conjunctivitis)
  • Keratitis (inflammation of the cornea causing watery painful eyes and blurred vision.)
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fever
  • General malaise
  • Loss of pregnancy

 

 

Cause/ Infection Rates

This infection is very common and found in most all multi-cat households, catteries and animal shelters.  Prevalence rates have been cited to be as high as 78-92% in pure-bred cats obtained from a cattery.  The infection is most commonly spread from nursing mothers to kittens.  Therefore, even when the utmost caution and infection control measures are taken, infection to newborn kittens is nearly inevitable. 

To put the commonality of the risk of infection into perspective, one might consider the human comparison, the rhinotracheitis virus which causes the common cold in humans.  It is very widely known and accepted that most everyone has contracted the common cold at one point in their lives.  It would be impractical to think that a child, might be raised from 0 to 18 years old (the time of leaving the household), and never had been exposed and contracted the common cold.  This exposure comes from parents, siblings, classmates ect.  The same rate of infection and exposure is as true and to be expected in the cat breeding community, as well as any cat in a shelter or rescue setting.  Typically the only cats which have a chance of being spared feline herpes infection are those who are born to feral mother cats living in a very rural setting widely detached from any feral cat colony. 

 

Treatment of Feline Herpes Virus

For mild symptoms such as sneezing, and watery eyes no treatment may be necessary. However, a visit to your veterinarian is always recommended to help determine if it is in fact a feline herpes virus infection or another cause. Also your veterinarian will determine if your cat needs treatment with an antibiotic for a secondary bacterial infection.  It is important to note that antibiotics do not treat the herpes virus, as antibiotic will only work on bacteria not viruses.  Although there are antiviral treatments available for use for the herpes virus infection of the eyes, there is no systemic treatment available for cats.  There are no actual treatments to rid your cat of the herpes virus; once infected they are infected for life.

 

Carrier vs. Shedder 

It is important to understand the difference between a cat who is a carrier and a cat who is a shedder of the virus.  While all cats which have been exposed to the virus will carry it and have it for the rest of their lives, some cats simply never present symptoms; these cats are called carriers.  The virus will lay dominant in the nerve blocks in the body for years without becoming active. 

Cats who are shedders also carry the virus and from time to time have outward symptoms of an active infection.  When these cats are “shedding the virus,” they are contagious to other cats.  However, in consideration of the fact that most all cats, especially cats from shelters, rescues, and catteries, have been previously exposed to the virus, it is not necessary to separate the cats, unless the unaffected cat is a very young kitten, or very elderly cat.

 

Prevention/ Decrease Severity

Although there is most times no effective way to prevent the spread of the herpes virus; because kittens are exposed directly from the mother cat, there are ways to reduce the risk of severe outbreaks.  The first line of defense is taking precaution to ensure that the cat is living in a sanitary, temperate, low-stress home and being fed a nourishing, species-appropriate raw or canned food diet.  This is because the immune system plays a huge part in the modulation of viruses in the body.  The virus will lay dormant in the body until the immune system is weakened by stress via the environment or through poor nutrition.  When the immune system is weakened, the virus lying dormant in the body is allowed to become active again.

The diet is also a huge contributing factor to the outbreak and spread of the virus because 85% of the immune system resides in the GI tract.  A healthy, well-functioning GI tract is of utmost importance to a cats overall health and immunity.  It is critical that a cat eats a species appropriate diet which consists of at least 95% protein in the form of canned or raw food only.   Cats are not meant to eat carbohydrates from grains and starch, so a dry food/kibble diet is not appropriate for cats and will lead to an unhealthy weight, unhealthy GI, weakened immune system and a slew of other health issues. 

The next tool of prevention comes in the form of an anti-viral supplement known as L-lysine.  L-lysine is an amino acid which is found naturally in various kinds of meat, beans, cheese and eggs.  L-lysine has long been known in the world of human medicine to be very effective against cold sores caused by herpes simplex I.  It has also become more widely known in recent years that L-lysine is also very effective for the use of controlling the herpes virus in cats. 

L-lysine can be purchased in specially formulated veterinary formulations for feline palatability, or it can be purchased in plain powder or capsule form for human use which has no taste and most cats will take to it perfectly well mixed into their meals.  The human version is perfectly safe for acts as it is the same amino acid, just ensure the formulation you purchase has no other added ingredients.  It is recommended to use 500 mg daily during any times of stress for your cat.  Times of stress to your cat can include, a new animal arriving into the household, house visitors, moving, or traveling. It is recommended to give for a span of 7 days before, during, and after the stressful event to help prevent the outbreak of the illness in your cats.

If your cat does become sick and it is determined to be from the herpes virus, it is recommended to treat with 1,000 mg of L-lysine daily until 3 days after the symptoms have subsided.  If your cat has been sick for more than 5-7 days, or if it is unknown that they have recurrent herpes outbreaks, a visit to your veterinarian right away is recommended. 

 

L-Lysine

 

Vaccination

Vaccination for the herpes virus is included in what is considered to be the “core vaccines” for all cats.  However, it is often misunderstood that vaccination is prevention and it is in fact not the case.  The vaccine is designed to administer a modified live version of the virus which will trigger the cat’s immune system to produce antibodies to the virus.  This in turn, gives the cat added protection against the virus should they have an active outbreak or acquire infection in the future.  Remember, that most all kittens already have contracted the virus in uterine, so even by the recommended age of vaccination at 7-8 weeks, the vaccine is not able to work as prevention, but simply an infection modulator.

 

How to make your cat feel better during an outbreak

If your cat has an outbreak, the first thing you should do is bring them into your veterinarian right away for an exam to be sure that there is not another cause of illness or a secondary bacterial infection.  If your veterinarian determines your cat’s illness is caused by a herpes virus flare-up, there are several things that you can do to help your cat to feel better.

 

  • Utmost importance is hydration.  Your veterinarian may give your cat fluids under the skin (sub-cutaneous.). If this is not done by your vet you can help to ensure that your cat is getting plenty of fluids by giving daily fresh water or providing a water fountain.  Also,, you can consider adding some chicken broth, tuna broth, or water to your cats food and be sure to feed your cat only a wet food diet at least during times of illness.
  • Clean your cat’s eyes frequently to remove discharge and prevent it from causing hard, uncomfortable crust in their eyes. Be sure to use only sterile saline to clean their eyes.
  • Be sure to keep your cat as calm and resting as possible.
  • Give 1,000 mg of L-lysine daily until 3 days after symptoms are gone.
  • Use a humidifier or put your cat in a steamy bathroom to help break up congestion.

 

 

Follow these steps to practice good immunity for your cat, good prevention, vaccination, and treatment to help keep your cat healthy despite feline herpes virus infection.  With proper management, this very common feline virus does not have to impact your beloved cat’s health or happiness.

 

Please note: This article has been provided for informational purposes only. If your pet is showing any signs of illness, please consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible. A raw food diet may not be appropriate for all cats in all stages of health and we always recommend having your cat examined and discussing diet changes with your veterinarian.

 

Keep those Hairless Kitties Healthy and Happy Everyone!!!

 

Text: Copyright © April Arguin RDH, Founder of LiLNudists Sphynx & Bambino Cattery. All rights reserved.

 

How to Bathe your Hairless Cat Part II

Learn how to bathe your hairless cat with the alternative “Bowl and Cup” technique for the challenging cats!

 

How to bath your Hairless Cat!

Learn how to properly bath your hairless cat.  Watch how the experts do it!

 

How to Give a WaterLess Cat Bath

Learn How to Give your Hairless Sphynx or Bambino Cat a WaterLess Bath.  Using Nudie Naturals Organic Cat WaterLess Pet Shampoo.  

 

Cat Tooth Brushing Instructional Video

Learn what we use to brush our Sphynx and Bambino kitties teeth to keep them healthy, clean, and strong!

 

Cat Food Taurine Levels

What is taurine?

 

Most cat owners today have heard the word taurine and know to a general extent that it is required to keep their cat healthy.  Beyond that, most are unaware of what exactly taurine is and why it is a vital part of the feline nutritional needs.  This is exactly what you will be educated on in today’s article!

Taurine is a type of amino acid, and amino acids form the main constituents of all proteins. Taurine is exclusively found in animal-based proteins. It is critical for normal vision, normal digestion, normal heart muscle function, to maintain normal pregnancy and fetal development, and to maintain a healthy immune system.

LiLNudists HCM/Taurine Study:

LiLNudists Cattery conducted a small study to see what the average levels of taurine received in the cat’s diets of 25 cats of the Hairless sphinx and bambino cat breeds who were currently living with, or who had succumb to the heart condition HCM which is prevalent in the breed.  We collected the data and then emailed the companies of each of the foods on the list to discover the taurine levels.  It turns out that most of the foods on the list which were fed to HCM positive hairless sphinx or bambino cats were only meeting the minimum requirements of taurine or slightly over.

 

Minimum Levels of Taurine Required in Cat Food as determined by the AAFCO (The Association of American Feed Control Officials):

AAFCO tuarine levels

Taurine Levels contained in Cat Foods fed to 25 HCM Study Participants:

Taurine and cats

Recommended Amount of Taurine in Cat Food:

Through our research and comparing current commercial prepared cat foods with that of a wild cats natural species appropriate diet we have determined the appropriate levels of taurine concentration in the diet to be about 3X that of the minimum requirements set by the AAFCO.  The recommended amount of Taurine in your cats diet should range between .50 – .65%.  These levels are found in currently balanced home prepared raw food diets which best mimic a cats natural diet, and can also be found in several high quality commercial prepared cat food diets currently available on the market. 

High Quality, High Taurine Recommended Cat Foods:

Taurine and cats

 

For your cats BEST health:

As you can clearly see form the chart above, a raw food diet is the highest level of taurine you can give to your cat and along with many other nutrients in its highest form the is the best diet you can feed.  Secondly is a god quality canned food diet consisting of an animal meat based protein, be careful about feeding canned foods with only fish as the primary source of the diet as taurine levels are often low, and there is high risk of mercury toxification.  The lowest taurine levels even in foods from the best companies are the dry food diets.  This is because dry foods only have at most a 50% protein content and taurine is contained in protein not in carbohydrates like the fruit, vegetables, and starch fillers which dry foods are made up of. 

 

Conclusion:

It is clear to see from the data that a low taurine diet clearly can contribute to heart disease in sphynx and bambino cat breeds.   The best over-al diet for any cat is a natural species appropriate diet which is very high in protein and low in carbohydrates.  A strictly raw or quality canned food only diet is best.  If you want your cat to live the longest healthiest life possible give them exactly what their heart and bodies need MEAT!!!

 

Please note: This article has been provided for informational purposes only. If your pet is showing any signs of illness, please consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible. A raw food diet may not be appropriate for all cats in all stages of health and we always recommend having your cat examined and discussing diet changes with your veterinarian.

 

Keep those Hairless Kitties Healthy and Happy Everyone!!!

 

Text: Copyright © April Arguin RDH, Founder of LiLNudists Sphynx, Bambino, SphynxieBob & BamBob Cattery. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Quick Fleece Instructions for Sphynx & Bambino Cats

Quick Kitten Fleece Making 101

 

This video and written instructions will help you to learn to make “quick” fleece sweaters for your sphynx or Bambino or any other breed of hairless cat to help keep them cozy and warm!

 

 

  1. Figure out which side of your fleece is the “stretchy” and “non-stretchy” side.  The “stretchy” side is going to be the neck side of the shirt.
  2. Fold the fabric over the width of the pattern about 5 inches wide and 11 inches long.
  3. Cut the fabric with an extra inch on the side that will be sewn.
  4. Turn your fabric inside out.
  5. Sew at the corner to the edge all the way to the back leaving some space at the end for room for the tummy.
  6. Cut your “cross hole”’ fold in half and cut about 2 ½ inches and repeat going the opposite direction.
  7. Dress your kitty and sit back and enjoy!

 

Quick Adult Sphynx or Bambino fleece making 101

 

  1. Figure out which side of your fleece is the “stretchy” and “non-stretchy” side. The “stretchy” side is going to be the neck side of the shirt.
  2. Fold the fabric over the width of the pattern about 7 inches wide and 14 inches long.
  3. Cut the fabric with an extra inch on the side that will be sewn.
  4. Cut a notch about 2 inches deep for the arm holes.
  5. Turn your fabric inside out.
  6. Sew the neck and stop at the leg holes.
  7. Sew the length of the front stopping before the very end for room for the tummy.
  8. Dress your kitty and sit back and enjoy!

 

 

 

 

All About HCM (Hypertropic Cardimyopathy)

If you own a Sphynx cat or any of the breeds developed from the Sphynx cat; Bambino, Elf, BamBob ect., you need to know all about these three letters…HCM.  I will further reference only the Sphynx but know that this includes all cat breeds which have been developed from this breed because the genetic predisposition for the disease is carried on through the Sphynx genetics.  HCM stands for the medical condition hypertrophic cardiomyopathy which is unfortunately a widely prevalent condition in the Sphynx cat.  This condition is known to be hereditary in nature so it is critically important that you understand this disease and understand the ways you can reduce your risks of adopting/purchasing a Sphynx cat who will develop this disease. 

I want to be sure that I keep this article as short as possible while still providing all relevant information a current, prospective, and future Sphynx owner needs to know and will simplify the medical jargon when possible to ensure that everyone is able to fully appreciate the information. 

Let’s begin by first defining what is HCM? By definition: HCM is a condition that causes the muscular walls of a cat’s heart to thicken, decreasing the heart’s efficiency and sometimes creating symptoms in other parts of the body.

The first photo here depicts a healthy heart and the second is the diseased HCM heart, you can clearly see the increase in the structure of the heart wall which leads to disease. 

HCM free Sphynx & Bambino

Healthy Heart

HCM in Sphynx

HCM Heart

What Causes HCM? Although the cause of HCM has not been clearly identified, the fact that the condition is more prevalent in certain breeds (including Maine Coon, Ragdoll, British Shorthair, Sphynx, Chartreux and Persian cats) and that mutations of several cardiac (heart) genes have been identified in some cats with this disease suggests that genetics plays a role.

What are the Symptoms of HCM?  Many cats with HCM do not appear to be ill. Others may show signs of congestive heart failure, which including labored or rapid breathing, open-mouthed breathing, and lethargy. Another very serious and potentially life-threatening consequence of HCM is the formation of blood clots in the heart. These clots may travel through the bloodstream to obstruct flow in other parts of the body. The effect of the clot depends on its location, although in cats with HCM, clots most commonly result in blockage of blood flow to the hind limbs, causing acute hind limb pain or, in extreme cases, hind limbs will become pale and cold and experience paralysis.

 

Diagnosis

HCM is diagnosed by echocardiography, a technology that uses sound waves to create an image of the heart, the same as if a person had a heart condition and needed diagnostics; this is essentially the same as an ultrasound just of the heart.   In cats with HCM, these images reveal the thickened walls and constricted volume of the left ventricle of the heart. Sometimes other tests are recommended including chest radiographs, and electrocardiography (EKG), and blood pressure checks. 

These heart scans, or HCM scans as you will often hear them called can be scheduled at any local veterinary specialist’s office.  However, these scans can be very expensive upwards to $500 per scan.  Due to the extent of the prevalence of these conditions in the hairless breeds, it is recommended that every cat is scanned at least by the age of 2 years old, and then at least every two years thereafter; with every year being most ideal.  This “routine” HCM scanning is done to aid in early diagnosis of the condition should your cat develop the disease. This early diagnosis can lead to a much better prognosis for your cat should they have the condition as early treatments can really slow the progression of the disease. 

If your cat does not have any symptoms of HCM or other heart disease however they can be eligible to participate in any number of HCM clinics which are operated throughout the US.   These clinics take place at either veterinary colleges, or specialty veterinary clinics where prices of scans are greatly reduced due to the number of scheduled patients organize for one particular day; typically once per month.  These reduced cost scans at an HCM clinic range anywhere from $100-$200 typically.  To find more information on locating and available HCM clinic near you simply visit:  http://www.hairlesshearts.org/

 

Treatment & Prevention

Although HCM has no known cure, a specialized care plan can help manage clinical signs of the condition in your cat. Treatment goals include controlling the heart rate, alleviating lung congestion (congestive heart failure), and preventing the formation of blood clots. Medication can help manage HCM, and can be administered orally to stable patients or by injection in more serious situations. Other drugs, such as nitroglycerine, may be applied to the cat’s skin for absorption.  Many of these medications are also have very wide spectrums of safety, and have been used for decades in human medicine with great clinical results; also are very affordable.

There has also been clinical studies proving the beneficial effects of the supplement CoQ10 (also known as Ubiquinole), in human patients with heart disease and these benefits are passed along to our feline counterparts.  This supplement works to improve heart function by increasing the amount of energy produced in the heart muscle which in turn helps improve the heart function.  You can find this supplement specifically formulated for pets on the following website from a very well trusted company called Mercola.  http://products.mercola.com/healthypets/ubiquinol-coq10/

 

Along with these treatments for your cat who has been diagnosed with HCM you should also consider looking at your cat’s current diet.  The reason for this is that the heart requires a tremendous amount of energy for proper functioning, and especially in a diseased heart the energy demands are even greater to continue the best functioning possible.  A poor quality diet will lack the proper nutrients to provide the necessary vitamins, minerals, and amino acids which are necessary for good heart function.  A good quality diet for your cat will be ideally a raw food diet, second best is a canned food diet (no dry) containing at least 95% protein.   It has been proven that low taurine levels in cats can in fact be a cause of heart disease as was discovered years ago in a large published study put on by the WINN Feline Foundation.  In the study the cats were fed either a commercial dry food diet or a prepared raw food diet of rabbit.  After a short period of time the cats on the raw food diet were earning greater marks in health in every category proving that the raw food diet was superior to dry food diets.  However, unfortunately the study failed to recognize the fact that rabbit is naturally very low in taurine which is essential for cats and suddenly several cats in the study acquired heart disease and the study was terminated.  If only they had added taurine into the diet all would have been fine.  Read more of the study @ http://felineinstincts.com/taurine-deficiency-in-raw-rabbit/

 

If your cat has been diagnosed with HCM it is extremely important that they receive the proper amount of taurine.  All commercially prepared diets which are approved to state the words “complete and balanced for all life stages,” will have proper amounts of taurine.  Adult only formulas will have accepted levels of taurine as well however typically only meet the minimum requirements.  It is important to be sure your cat is not receiving just minimum amounts but as much taurine as their body and heart needs to properly function along with other vital amino acids.  It is neither safe nor recommended to add a taurine supplement to your cat’s diet as this can lead to toxicity.  The safe and simple way to increase your cats levels of taurine and other heart healthy amino acids are through the additional of beef liver in their diet.  This can be achieved by either feeding a raw or lightly cooked beef liver treat twice per week; or purchase freeze dried beef liver treats to give to your cat a couple times per week.  Note that it MUST be beef liver not chicken liver as the two are vastly different and beef liver is the densest source of taurine available. 

 

It is purely speculation at this point as I have no laboratory evidence; however it is my speculation that one of the major reasons why our beloved hairless breeds suffer more commonly from HCM than other breeds tend to due to an increased demand for taurine.  Why would they need more taurine than other cat breeds?  Simple, because of their lack of hair they are metabolically challenged; because their bodies must work harder constantly to help maintain their normal body temperature.  This requires extra energy which must be provided by additional nutrients including crucial amino acids like taurine which are spent through the bodies’ cellular production of energy.  Therefore our precious hairless breeds may in fact greatly reduce their risk of this dreaded incurable disease simply by the use of a high protein (should be 95% or greater) diet, and the addition of taurine through a whole food source like beef liver. 
Prognosis

The prognosis (predicted outcome) for cats with HCM is variable. Cats that do not display any clinical signs are often able to survive for years with only mildly compromised heart function.  The best chance of long term survival with a diagnosis of HCM is early detection.  If detected early medication treatment, diet changes, and supplements can all be helpful in slowing the progression of the disease and prolonging your cat’s life.  It is a very common question I receive is how long can someone expect their cat to live with a diagnosis of HCM?  This is a hard answer as it is dependent on so many factors, it could be months, could be years.  I like to lean towards the optimistic side and advise anyone with a recent HCM diagnosis that I have known of a cat with proper treatment and good diet to live 11 years with the diagnosis.  This may be the rarity, but it is my feeling that the more positive you can stay about any situation the better chance you have of achieving the best outcome you possibly can. 

 

Please note: This article has been provided for informational purposes only. If your pet is showing any signs of illness, please consult a veterinarian as quickly as possible. A raw food diet may not be appropriate for all cats in all stages of health and we always recommend having your cat examined and discussing diet changes with your veterinarian.

 

Keep those Hairless Kitties Healthy and Happy Everyone!!!

 

Text: Copyright © April Arguin RDH, Founder of LiLNudists Sphynx, Bambino, SphynxieBob & BamBob Cattery. All rights reserved.