October Newsletter 2006

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Why Do They Do That?

hy does my cat scratch the family sofa rather than the scratching post we bought especially for her?

Scratching serves at least two purposes for a cat. First, it functions as a self-manicure, eliminating the frayed pieces of nail, resulting in smooth, sharp claws. Secondly, scratching satisfies a cat’s instinctual drive to mark its territory, which she does by visibly scarring the cloth. Additionally, cats have scent glands on their feet, and scratching releases secretions that let other cats know that this is her spot. They tend to mark the places that they enjoy the most, which are frequently the places you commonly occupy when you are at home. That’s one of the reasons why scratching posts don’t always work – your cat has no emotional attachment to it yet. Try playing with your cat, encouraging her to scratch the post. You can also try rubbing catnip on the post. If you want to discourage your cat from scratching your couch, apply double-sided tape to the commonly scratched areas. You can remove the tape after your cat learns not to scratch there.

Companion Animals at Work
Therapy Animals

ight now, there is a battalion of peaceful warriors at work in America. This force is engaging people in need and affecting truly positive changes in the lives of thousands of people. The battlegrounds are hospitals, senior care facilities, mental health wards and schools for special needs. Their arsenal – fur, paws, dedication, respect, kindness and most of all, love.

Currently, there are over 15,000 dogs and approximately 13,000 trained handlers registered with Therapy Dogs International, the largest therapy animal organization in America. These numbers do not include working therapy cats, rabbits and birds, which are growing in popularity.

To become a therapy dog, they must pass numerous behavioral tests and be evaluated by a certified evaluator. These tests help to ascertain whether the dogs are equipped to handle sudden movements, loud noises, the presence of canes and wheelchairs, and the company of children, to name a few.

More and more, people – many of whom never had a pet – are experiencing the love and attention of a companion animal. And for those who, due to diminished health, are no longer able to have a companion animal of their own, these visits are especially meaningful and welcome.

The aim of these therapeutic encounters is to bring joy and comfort to those who need it most, including people of all ages who are in mental health counseling programs and institutions, undergoing physical therapy, participating in reading and speech programs, and living in senior care facilities.

To find out more about Therapy Dogs International, visit www.tdi-dog.org today.

If you have an inspirational story to share, please send it to stories@healthypetnet.com


Science Spotlight

ccording to a study conducted by researchers at Amersham Hospital in England and reported in the British Medical Journal, dogs with no special training were able to detect the urine specimens that came from bladder cancer patients when placed alongside specimens from healthy patients.
Their combined success rate was calculated at more than twice that of random selection. The dogs that were most successful were three-and-a-half times more likely to correctly identify samples from bladder cancer subjects than random choice.

Perhaps the most astounding outcome of the study involved a sample provided by a subject that tested negative for cancer on multiple evaluations. All of the dogs selected this person’s sample as positive for cancer. As a result, doctors conducted further tests and were able to locate a previously unnoticed life-threatening kidney tumor.

The issue under investigation now is how to implement a system that incorporates this amazing canine ability.

Dietary Alert: Felines and Water
How much water does a cat need?

he amount of water needed by cats will vary dependent upon unique factors, such as age, diet, weight and environment. However, we know that when cats hunt in the wild, their prey contain anywhere from 40% to 80% water. This is part of the rationale behind recipes for canned food, which typically has between 76% and 80% water content.

Although there is no true formula for feline water intake, we do know that cats generally will not consume enough water on their own to sustain optimal organ functioning for a long and healthy life. This is because cats evolved as desert animals, so their sense of thirst is not nearly as acute as that of other mammals. In fact, cats will only drink an average of two milliliters of water for every gram of dry food eaten. This is part of the reason why when some cats eat a diet of only dry food, they can form crystals in the urinary tract.

Based on the physiology and evolution of the cat, we recommend that cats be fed canned food to ensure that they get enough water. Water is not only necessary for a healthy urinary tract – the body requires water to metabolize food and for all other chemical processes occurring on a cellular level.

Cats are incredibly proficient at using the water they consume. According to a study by Wolf in 1959, cats can re-hydrate by drinking seawater!

The problem with eating canned food alone is that cats require a great deal of protein and nutrients. Since most canned food can only have about 20% dry matter, it takes a number of cans of food for the cat to get all its nutritional needs met. In fact, in order to fulfill the nutritional requirement of a 7-9 pound cat, the majority of supermarket canned foods recommend feeding three cans per day! As any cat owner knows, very few cats are capable of consuming that much food on a daily basis.

This is the fundamental question in formulating canned cat food – how to balance the nutritional content and the water necessary to fully hydrate the body. To solve this, Dr. Jane formulated Instinctive Choice. The nutrients in this recipe are almost all-protein, as this is the true source of feline nutrition. And the water in Instinctive Choice is infused with nutrients from meat and fish sources, mimicking the water found in prey – Dr. Jane calls it “biological water”. Think of biological water as a nutrient-dense broth that delivers both the fluids necessary to sufficiently hydrate the body and the additional nourishment to support the functions of a healthy body.

Your sweet house cat is a true carnivore, requiring a diet consisting primarily of meat to satisfy his or her specific and unique nutritional requirements. Instinctive Choice is a new premium canned food that is scientifically-formulated to provide your cat with a meal that is similar in nutrition and moisture to wild feline diets. Instinctive Choice is rich in protein, containing organic chicken, turkey, chicken liver and shrimp. Now you can finally give your cat what he or she truly craves!

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