Pets and PTSD: How Animals Help with Trauma

PTSD Overview

Whether it’s due to the experience of a horrific event while serving in the military or being involved in a traumatic car accident, there are millions of Americans who deal with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) on an everyday basis. PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event such as a serious accident, terrorist act, natural disaster, combat, rape, or personal assault.

Individuals with PTSD have intense and disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their specific experiences that likely last long after the event has happened. They can be triggered at any moment. Many relive the moment or event through continuous nightmares and flashbacks. PTSD does not discriminate by culture, ethnicity or race, as it can happen to anyone.

Symptoms of PTSD typically can be placed into the following four categories: Intrusive thoughts, avoiding reminders, negative thoughts and feelings, and arousal and reactive symptoms.

  • Intrusive thoughts are involuntary memories or dreams, as well as flashbacks of the traumatic event. Some flashbacks may feel so real that people feel as if they’re re-living the experience.
  • Avoiding reminders of the event may include avoiding certain people, places, activities, and situations that may bring back memories of the event.
  • Negative thoughts and feelings may include ongoing distorted beliefs, ongoing fear, anger, and guilt or shame.
  • Arousal and reactive symptoms could include irritability, outbursts, reckless behavior, and difficulty concentrating or sleeping.

Many people who experience a traumatic event may exhibit symptoms like the ones described for a couple of days after the event. If these symptoms continue for months or even years following the trauma, that’s when a person is considered as having PTSD.

The trouble with PTSD is that the symptoms it causes will also occur with related conditions such as depression, and can lead to substance abuse, memory problems and other mental and physical health issues. It can be extremely difficult to live a normal life while dealing with PTSD. It can make everyday tasks much more difficult. Studies have shown that one thing that helps minimize the effects of PTSD is interaction with animals! This is where PTSD pet therapy comes from.

What is PTSD Pet Therapy?

You or someone you know may have PTSD and may be struggling with getting over it and suppressing the symptoms that come with it. Have you tried or are you familiar with pet therapy? Pet therapy is a guided interaction between a person and a trained animal. This interaction also involves the animal’s handler. The purpose of pet therapy is to help someone recover from or cope with a health problem or mental disorder — in this case, PTSD.

The most common animals used in pet therapy are dogs and cats, although fish, guinea pigs, horses, and other animals may also be used depending on the circumstance. The type of animal chosen usually depends on the treatment plan set in place between you and your therapist, as well as your personal comfort levels and preferences. Another name for pet therapy is Animal-Assisted Therapy (AAT). AAT is a formal, structured set of sessions that helps people reach specific goals throughout their treatment process.

What Are the Steps Involved in PTSD Pet Therapy?

Your doctor or therapist that’s managing your treatment will administer pet therapy. A trained handler, who is often the pet’s owner, will bring the animal to every meeting and work with your doctor or therapist to help you reach your goals. The first step in pet therapy is making sure to select a suitable animal that you feel comfortable with. Therapy is unlikely to go well if you and the animal don’t share a connection and feel comfortable with one another.

There are many organizations that will train and connect volunteer owners and pets with healthcare providers to make things easier. Prior to participating in pet therapy, an animal and its handler must first fulfill certain requirements, which include a physical examination of the animal to confirm that it’s been immunized and is free of disease, an obedience training course to ensure proper animal control, an instructional course to teach the trainer about interaction with other people, an evaluation of the animal’s temperament and behavior with the handler, and a certification from the sponsoring organization. Once the animal and handler have gone through this process, they are assigned for therapy sessions based on an individual’s needs.

What Are the Benefits of PTSD Pet Therapy?

Just like any kind of therapy, there are many benefits to pet therapy. Pet therapy builds on the human-animal bond. For someone with PTSD, interacting with a friendly animal can help soothe many physical and mental issues, including reduction of blood pressure and improvement of overall cardiovascular health. It releases certain endorphins that allow the individual to feel calm and at ease. This helps alleviate pain, improve your overall psychological state and reduce stress.

Is Pet Insurance Worth It for an Indoor Cat?

There are many different species of cats, all ranging in size, color, and markings. Just as there are different species of cats, there are different kinds of cats. These can be classified in the following three categories: indoor cats, indoor-outdoor cats, and outdoor cats.

Indoor cats live in homes and spend all of their time inside the house. Indoor-outdoor cats live in the house but can roam the streets as well. Finally, there are outdoor cats, who live in nature and don’t have much interaction — if any at all — with humans. If you have an indoor cat, you undoubtedly love your little feline friend and have concern for their safety, so you might come to ask yourself, is pet insurance worth it for an indoor cat? Have you looked into it?

Health Risks for Indoor Cats

Every pet has health risks that you as a pet owner have to try and avoid if you want your pet to live a long, happy, and healthy life. This is one of the challenges of being a pet owner. To start, lack of exercise and boredom can lead to physical and emotional stress for your cat. A stressed cat is an unhealthy cat, and cats typically are subject to stress more easily than other animals. Cats will usually show signs of illness when they’re stressed. Stress in a cat is a matter that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Even when it comes to something simple like a common inflammatory disease, they will usually become healthier once their stress levels are reduced. It’s important to recreate a similar environment within your home that a cat would typically encounter when in the wild. This will allow them to feel at home, stress-free, and happy.

Obesity and diabetes are also common reasons that indoor cats begin to see a decline in their health. Lack of exercise in a cat’s life can allow it to gain weight very easily, and if they do so, it becomes very hard for them to lose weight, especially the older they get. Making sure that your cat stays active and has plenty of toys to run around and play with is important. Limiting the amount of time that they’re inactive is crucial to their health. Unlike outdoor cats, indoor cats have much less room to run around and play and hunt, thus expending less energy.

Another big health risk in indoor cats is Feline Lower Urinary Tract Disease (FLUTD). Feline lower urinary tract disease is the result of a variety of conditions that affects both the bladder and urethra in cats. Cats with this disease usually show signs of difficulty and pain when urinating, an increase in the number of times they urinate, as well as a presence of blood in their urine. They also tend to excessively lick themselves and can be found urinating outside their litter box on cooler, smoother surfaces. While the disease can occur at any age, it mostly occurs in middle-aged, overweight cats that get limited exercise, have zero to little outdoor access, and eat a dry diet. Cats with urethral obstruction must receive immediate veterinary care.

Separation anxiety can affect indoor cats as well. As we all know, cats are usually the pet of choice when it comes to busy people, but cats can become very attached to their owners and will suffer separation anxiety when they’re left alone. These cats are typically described as being needy when you are around, and then when you’re not, they cause complete chaos around the house until you return.

Along with the health risks stated above, cats are also subject to indoor hazards. Always make sure to keep your home clear of potential hazards if you have a cat that spends a lot of time at home without you being there. House plants such as lilies are toxic to cats, so it’s important to be aware of what you can and cannot have around the house if you plan to leave your furry friend alone for much of the time. A good common practice is also to avoid using dangerous products or pesticides in areas that your cat has access to. Doing some research on hazardous products can go a long way.

What Does Pet Insurance Cover?

So you just got a cat and you’re intrigued by the concept of pet insurance, but you’re not really sure what costs would be covered if your cat were to get sick or hurt. So, you’re stuck wondering if pet insurance is worth it for an indoor cat. It really depends on a few different factors.

Can Cats Eat Yogurt?

Cat owners commonly contemplate about the toxicity of human foods. The questions about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which yielded a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods for cats are onions, garlic, chocolate, alcohol, and excessive amounts of fish. In dogs, Grapes and Raisins, and Peanut Butter are commonly discussed as dangerous foods.

Knowledge of dangerous foods has encouraged pet owners to ask about other human foods such as can cats eat yogurt. Learn more about what cats can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat.

Can Cats Eat Yogurt?  

Yogurt is a food product made from milk. It is formed by bacterial fermentation with yogurt cultures. Milk is heated then allowed to cool and mixed with the bacterial culture. The lactose fermentation gives yogurt its unique texture and flavor. Yogurt can be made from the milk of cows, sheep, goats, yaks, camels, and buffalo and created into a large variety of textures and flavors.  Each type of milk produces different flavors. The milk used to make yogurt can be homogenized, pasteurized, or raw.

When researching the safety and dangers of yogurt for cats, while yogurt is not considered toxic or dangerous, it is not necessarily good for your cat. It can be fed to some cats in very small amounts.

Why is yogurt not good for cats? The answer is that most cats are considered to be lactose-intolerant. This is contrary to popular belief. After all, many children’s books contain iconic photos of adorable kittens lapping up saucers of milk.

Lactose intolerance is a normal part of being an adult cat. Kittens produce an enzyme called lactase to break down lactose which is the milk sugar.  As kittens age and are weaned, they produce less and less lactase and therefore are unable to digest most dairy products.

When lactose is ingested and not broken down by the lactase, the lactose continues through the intestinal system and is not digested. Water is drawn into the intestine and bacteria ferment the undigested milk sugars. This results in symptoms that may include gas, discomfort, and diarrhea in 8 to 12 hours.

The Dangers of Yogurt to Cats

As discussed above, cats naturally have an inability to digest lactose. This can affect some cats more than others. Ingestion of any type of yogurt or dairy product can produce severe symptoms in some cats.

Flavored yogurts, such as those with garlic, onion, or garlic/onion powders can cause severe problems in cats. Cats lack the enzyme to appropriately digest onions that can cause flatulence (gas), vomiting, diarrhea, or severe gastrointestinal distress. Regular ingestion of onion or garlic products can cause life-threatening red blood cell damage.

However, some cats appear to be more lactose intolerant than others. I’ve seen cats on dairy farms seem to tolerate milk ingestion. I personally have a cat that begs for various dairy products including cheese, milk, and yogurt and he loves it. I only feed a small amount the size of a pea and he seems to consistently tolerate this without any signs of problems. In general, dairy products are not recommended for most cats.

NOTE: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats. What may not bother some cats may cause signs of illness in another cat. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother some people and not others.  Overfeeding can cause gastrointestinal upset and/or obesity.

How Can You Tell if Your Cat is Lactose Intolerant?

You can test your cat’s ability to digest lactose by offering a small amount of milk such as a tablespoon of milk or yogurt and look for abnormal symptoms.

There are differing amounts of lactose in various dairy products. For example, goat’s milk commonly contains less lactose than cow’s milk. Therefore, some cats may digest yogurt made with goat’s milk better than yogurt made with cow’s milk. Milk, cream, butter, yogurt, yogurt, ice cream all have different amounts. Some dairy products may agree with your cat more than another.

With that being said, there is nothing in yogurt that your cat requires. It is safest to choose a treat that is without yogurt. There are some lactose-free products available on the market that could be options. They also make some lactose free products specifically for cats that are available in some pet stores.

Do Cats Like Yogurt?

Some cats love yogurt (as well as other dairy products) and other cats don’t.  This really varies from cat to cat. Some cats often love the flavor of yogurt’s soft creamy texture and enjoy this as a healthy snack. Yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium, and Vitamin B12. In fact, I personally have one cat that loves yogurt and begs for it on every occasion.

Do Cats Need Yogurt?

There is nothing in yogurt that cats require. What cats do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved cat food. Learn more about Nutrition in Cats.

Can Cats Eat Watermelon?

Cat owners commonly wonder about the toxicity of various human foods. The question about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which yielded a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods to cats are onions, garlic, chocolate, alcohol, and excessive amounts of fish.

Exposure to the dangers of various human foods has encouraged pet owners to ask about the safety of foods such as can cats eat watermelon. Learn more about what cats can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat.

Can Cats Eat Watermelon?

Watermelon is a large fruit round to oblong in shape grown from a plant of the gourd family. It has a thick outer green striped skin and inside contains a red pulp with a very high water content and seeds. There are also “seedless” varieties of watermelon. The long vines and flowering watermelon plant were believed to be originally cultivated from West Africa.

To answer the question, “Can cats eat watermelons?” is, “Yes.” Cats can eat watermelon and some cats do enjoy the crunchy soft texture. Watermelon is a good source of water (watermelon is about 92% water), nitric oxide, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium.

Although watermelon is considered safe, any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats. What may not bother some cats can cause problems to a different cat.

The Dangers of Watermelons to Cats

When researching the safety and danger of watermelons for cats, there are a couple of considerations.

  1. First is the potential for blockage from the stems, seeds, rind, and leaves. Although uncommon, cats that have exposure to gardens and eat the leaves can develop gastrointestinal upset and potential blockage.
  2. Watermelon seeds can also cause gastrointestinal upset and potential blockage in some cats.
  3. Lastly, there is an uncommon risk of choking when eating large pieces or in some cases whole large pieces of watermelons. Cats are generally fairly discriminating in their eating habits and this is a rare problem.

Do Cats Need Watermelons?

There is nothing in watermelons that cats require. What cats do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved cat food. Learn more about Nutrition in Cats.

The Safest Way to Give Watermelons to Cats

The safest way to give watermelon to your cat is to offer small pieces of sliced watermelon without the rind and seeds.  You can purchase the unseeded watermelon varieties which are great options. Although safe to give, there are better and generally more appealing treats to give cats.

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Can Cats Eat Shrimp?

Cat owners commonly wonder about the toxicity of various human foods. The question about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which yielded a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods to cats are onions, garlic, chocolate, alcohol, and excessive amounts of fish.

Exposure to the dangers of various human foods has encouraged pet owners to ask about the safety of foods such as can cats eat shrimp. Learn more about what cats can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat.

Can Cats Eat Shrimp? 

The answer to can cats eat cooked shrimp is yes they can. Shrimp can be prepared plain, steamed, grilled, sautéed, baked, boiled, or broiled. Cats love the soft to firm texture, flavor, and smell of the shrimp and can enjoy it as a healthy snack. Shrimp is a good source of protein, phosphorous, selenium, choline, copper, iodine and vitamin B12.

A shrimp, commonly referred to as a prawn, is an animal classified as decapod crustaceans that live in the water. There are thousands of species that serve as an important food source to various ocean animals including various species of fish. Shrimp has an elongated body, strong tails, and most commonly move by swimming. The tails of shrimp are a common delicacy for human consumption and the commercial shrimp industry is estimated to be over a 50 billion dollar a year business.

The Dangers of Shrimp to Cats

When researching the safety of shrimp for cats, there are five considerations that impact the danger.

  1. Pancreatitis or gastrointestinal upset can occur in cats that aren’t used to shrimp or after ingestion of shrimp cooked with seasonings and butter. Too much oil, fat, or seasoning can lead to gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis.
  2. There is a risk of choking or esophageal foreign bodies from the tails (shell).
  3. Ingestion of large amounts of fish tails can cause gastrointestinal upset and constipation.
  4. Raw shrimp can contain various bacteria that can infect cats (and you) such as E.Coli, salmonella and/or listeria which can cause symptoms of infection.
  5. Some cats may be allergic to shrimp. Learn more about Food Allergy in Cats.

To answer the question, “Can cats eat shrimp?” The answer is, “Yes.”

If your cat ingested shrimp and is showing symptoms such as trouble swallowing, vomiting, diarrhea, not eating or lethargy, please call your veterinarian or closest emergency clinic.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats. What may not cause illness in one cat may create sickness in another cat.

Do Cats Need Shrimp?

There is nothing in shrimp that cats require however shrimp is a very good source of protein and nutrients and is a primary ingredient in some cats foods. The most important thing to do is to ensure your cat is eating a good quality cat food. Learn more about the nutritional needs of cats. Go to Nutrition in Cats.

The Safest Way to Give Shrimp to Cats

The safest way to give shrimp to your cat is to offer a small amount of unseasoned deveined cooked shrimp.  If feeding shrimp to your cat as a treat, ½ of a shrimp is plenty for a small cat and 1 shrimp for a large sized cat.

Can Cats Be Allergic to Shrimp?

Cats can have food allergies including to shrimp. The most common food allergens in cats are beef, chicken, and dairy. Symptoms of allergies in cats can include skin itching and skin infections.

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Can Cats Eat Potatoes?

Cat owners commonly wonder about the toxicity of various human foods. The question about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which yielded a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods to cats are onions, garlic, chocolate, alcohol, and excessive amounts of fish.

Exposure to the dangers of various human foods has encouraged pet owners to ask about the safety of foods such as can cats eat potatoes. Learn more about what cats can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat.

Can Cats Eat Potatoes?

A potato, also known as a tater or spud, is a round to oblong food that is classified botanically as a root vegetable. They belong to the plant family Solanaceae, which is the same plant family as nightshade and tomatoes. Potatoes are grown in the ground and it is the root of the plant that makes the potato. They can vary in size from small and round to large and oblong with soft thin skin.

Potatoes are enjoyed throughout the world and are one of the world’s most commonly grown crops dating back to almost 10,000 years. There are a thousand varieties of potatoes with the first potato probably originating in South American and reaching Europe in the 16th century.

To answer the question, “Can cats eat potatoes?” it’s, “Yes.” Cats can eat a small amount of cooked unseasoned potatoes. However, cats are carnivores and most do not choose to eat potatoes. Cats often love various textures and enjoy them as a healthy snack. Potatoes are a good source of water, potassium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and magnesium.

Although cooked potatoes are considered safe, any food can cause gastrointestinal upset in cats. What bothers some cats does bother others. The same can happen in people. Some foods can bother one person but not another.

Potatoes are prepared hundreds of ways including baked, mashed, diced, or as chips. They can be baked, boiled, fried and flavored hundreds of ways.

The Dangers of Potatoes to Cats

When researching the safety and danger of potatoes for cats, there are a couple of considerations.

  1. Green, uncooked, and/or raw potato peels contain solanine which can be toxic to cats. Solanine is a natural defense mechanism of the potato to protect it from being eaten. Ingestion of solanine in cats can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and sometimes affect the nervous system causing lethargy and disorientation.
  2. Pancreatitis or gastrointestinal upset can occur in cats that aren’t used to potatoes or those cooked with seasonings and butter. Too much oil, fat, or seasoning can lead to gastrointestinal upset or pancreatitis.
  3. There is a potential for blockage from the ingestion of the leaves of the plants. Although uncommon, cats that have exposure to gardens and eat the leaves can develop gastrointestinal upset and potential blockage.
  4. There is an uncommon risk of choking when eating large pieces or in some cases large whole pieces of potatoes. Cats are generally fairly discriminating in their eating habits and this is a rare problem.

Do Cats Need Potatoes? 

There is nothing in potatoes that cats require. What cats do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved cat food. Learn more about Nutrition in Cats.

The Safest Way to Give Potatoes to Cats 

The safest way to give potatoes to your cat is to offer small-diced pieces of cooked potato or mashed soft potatoes without seasoning. There are safer and better treats to give cats other than potatoes.

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Spring Cleaning Tips for Cat Lovers for a Cleaner Home and Happier Cat

Spring is a popular season and for good reason: the weather is warming up, the green is starting to reappear outside, and people and pets alike can finally emerge from their homes to explore the outdoors and take in the warmth. It’s also a time to knock out some serious cleaning inside our homes — particularly for cat owners.

Just as humans go through cycles, so too do cats — especially with shedding. In fact, cat hair shedding is actually tied to the amount of light that their fur is exposed to. Indoor cats will shed more consistently but in smaller amounts because they’re exposed to artificial light in addition to natural light. The overall hair growth and shedding processes occur in three stages: active growth (anagen), transition (catagen) and rest (telogen). Learn more about cat shedding processes here.

What’s important to understand is that cat hair shedding can be managed more proactively with a few simple steps for both your cat and your home. Here are a few ideas and recommendations on spring cleaning tips for cat lovers.

Getting Your Cat Ready for Spring

First on our list of spring cleaning tips for cat lovers is dealing with shedding. While there are cat breeds that don’t shed much, all cats shed in some form — whether lightly or heavily. In fact, shorthair cats shed just as much as longhair cats. The fur is simply often more noticeable for longhair cats than it is for shorthair cats. It’s also a natural part of thinning out their winter coats. While shedding will make your cat feel better, it can add a layer of both dander and frustration to your household.

As you live with your cat, you’ll get a sense for what’s normal and not normal in terms of shedding as you go about your normal cleaning routine. When more hair starts to show up, consider brushing your cat more frequently. A brush, comb, mat remover, or grooming glove used for a few minutes every day will help collect dead hair in a single sitting rather than finding it all over your home. It’s important to note that unusually high shedding may be a sign of a bigger problem, such as a skin disorder, stress, or some other cause. In these situations, consult a veterinarian to help you determine the cause and solution.

And while it’ll likely be an unpleasant experience, you should also give your cat a bath from time to time as well to keep her skin, undercoat, and main coat fresh and clean. Learn more about how to give a cat a bath here. Taking these steps as spring approaches will help expedite your cat’s shedding process and also keep her feeling great.

Spring is also a time when unwanted insects start to arrive — ticks and fleas, in particular. If your cat is permitted outdoors, it’s critical that you take the necessary precautions to both protect your cat’s health as well as your home. Fleas and ticks can affect humans, too, and the last thing you want is to have your cat suffering as well as your household.

These pests can be difficult to get rid of once they’re a problem, so take action now with flea and tick control medications or collars to protect yourself and your cat. Also, consider treating your lawn with an appropriate insecticide applied by a professional pest inspector or lawn care company. Treating your yard in addition to pet-focused treatment will help prevent infestation on an ongoing basis.

Get Your Home Spring-Ready

Spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to get rid of the excess in your home and do some deep cleaning. By moving furniture, appliances, and other larger objects in your home, you can remove cat dander and fur that has collected in the unseen spaces of your home over the colder months. Cat hair is notorious for floating around and collecting in small spaces, so deep cleaning is important to make sure you catch it all.

One of the biggest collectors of cat hair and dander is furniture. Different fabric types will retain and show fur more than others. If your cat is young enough, consider training her to stay off furniture as much as possible by providing her with a cat bed, climbing tower, or other pet-related furniture that’s meant to be used by your pet. Cleaning these items is often as simple as vacuuming them or throwing them in a washing machine. For furniture that has pet hair on it, many vacuums now come with pet hair attachments that make removal a breeze. For more difficult hair, products are available for either covering furniture or applying a sticky surface for removal. Learn more about dealing with cat hair in your home and on furniture.

Can Cats Eat Dog Food?

Cat owners commonly wonder about the toxicity and safety of various human foods and even dog foods. Clients often ask many questions including can cats eat dog food?

The question about the safety of foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic. The most important toxic foods to cats are onions, garlic, chocolate, alcohol, and excessive amounts of fish. Learn more about what cats can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat.

Below, we will review the safety of dog food for cats.

Can Cats Eat Dog Food?

The answer to the question, “can cats eat dog food”… the answer is yes. Cats can eat dog food but only in moderation. Although most cats don’t care for it some cats do enjoy eating it.

The Dangers of Dog Food to Cats

Some cat owners, especially those with multiple cats or those that feed outdoor cats may be tempted to buy dog food. The costs of dog food can be half of cat food for the same size bag depending on the brand and quality of food.

The answer is pretty simple. You should not feed cats dog food for the majority of their calories. This is because cats have different nutritional requirements than dogs. Dog food does not fulfill the nutritional needs of cats.

Differences Between Dog and Cat Foods

There are several differences between cat and dog food. The primary differences include:

  • Protein — Total protein levels in dog foods tend to be lower than for cat foods. This represents another significant reason not to feed our felines food that’s meant for dogs. Though some dog foods do offer very high levels of protein, most don’t offer the percentage of protein our carnivorous cats require.
  • Taurine — Taurine is considered an essential amino acid for cats. Therefore, all cats require it. Dogs, on the other hand, can make their own taurine, which is why many dog foods are deficient in this nutrient. If a cat is fed a canine diet lacking sufficient levels of taurine, blindness and a heart disease called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy are the most common outcomes.
  • Note: Taurine deficiency also happens when cats eat a fish-only diet since fish meat is largely deficient in this amino acid. Which is why you might’ve heard that tuna is “bad” for cats (but isn’t unless you’re not feeding an otherwise balanced diet).
  • Vitamin A — Dogs have the ability to turn beta carotene into Vitamin A, a feat cats’ bodies can’t manage. That’s why Vitamin A must be supplied in cat food. While plenty of dog foods may contain additional vitamin A, they aren’t necessarily formulated to offer the amounts a cat requires for a lifetime of optimum health. A variety of non-specific symptoms and disease states can result when cats don’t receive sufficient levels of Vitamin A in their food.
  • Arachidonic acid — Arachidonic acid is a fatty acid that dogs can build themselves. Cats, on the other hand, require the real thing. Cats who eat dog foods low in arachidonic acid levels will suffer a variety of nonspecific symptoms.
  • Palatability Dogs and cats perceive food differently. For example, among other differences, cats don’t have the ability to taste anything sweet. Their reduced range for what they consider palatable helps explain why dog food doesn’t tend to attract cats as much as cat food does dogs. However, there are some cats that actually like dog food and will steal kibble from the dog bowl.

Do Cats Need Dog Food?

There is nothing in dog food that cats require on a regular basis. In fact, feeding dog food to a cat on a regular basis will cause nutritional deficiencies.

Cats require a high-quality AAFCO approved cat food. Learn more about Nutrition in Cats.

The Safest Way to Give Dog Food to Cats

It is not recommended to feed dog food to cats. The best thing to do is to feed a high-quality cat food.

How Much Dog Food Can You Give a Cat?

Many cats sneak and eat some dog food. It is not toxic and a few kibbles will not cause harm. As long as they also have access to eat high-quality cat food for the majority of his or her calories, there should not be a problem.

Can Cats Be Allergic to Dog Food?

While it is possible for a cat to be allergic to any food, cats are not allergic to dog food in general. However, cats can have food allergies and if they ingest an ingredient they are allergic to that is in the dog food, it is possible for them to be allergic to that food.

Who Can You Call About Suspected Toxicity in Cats?

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Can Cats Eat Strawberries?

Cat owners commonly wonder about the toxicity of various human foods. The question about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which yielded a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods are onions, garlic, chocolate, alcohol, and excessive amounts of fish.

Exposure to the dangers of various human foods has encouraged pet owners to ask about the safety of foods such as can cats eat strawberries. Learn more about what cats can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat.

Can Cats Eat Strawberries?

A strawberry is a round, oblong, spherical, or heart-shaped soft sweet red fruit with a seed-studded surface grown from a strawberry plant. The world production of strawberries is estimated to be nearly 10 million ton/year.

The strawberry plant is a low growing green plant that produces white flowers that yield the strawberry fruit. They are grown worldwide. Strawberries are commonly eaten by themselves or prepared in foods such as pies, ice cream, milkshakes, energy drinks, salad dressings, preserves, fruit smoothies, fruit bars, candy, or enjoyed covered in chocolate. The flavor and aromas of strawberries are common in candy, perfume, cosmetics, candles, and many more products.

It is believed that the first strawberry was bred in France and came to North American in the mid-1700s. The strawberry has received recent press discussing that it is not classified as a traditional “berry” based on the biology of the plant and that it is technically an “accessory fruit.”

The answer to the question, “can cats eat strawberries”… the answer is yes. Cats can eat strawberries but in moderation. Although most cats don’t care for fruit including strawberries, some cats do enjoy the soft moist texture and many enjoy this as a healthy snack. Strawberries are a good source of antioxidants, fiber, and Vitamin C.

The Dangers of Strawberries to Cats

Ingestion of large amounts of strawberries can cause gastrointestinal upset such as diarrhea. Although uncommon in cats, ingestion of strawberry stems and plants can cause gastrointestinal obstruction. The leaves and plant, while not toxic, are very difficult to digest. Signs of problems include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, straining to defecate, and/or a decreased appetite.

The other danger of strawberries to cats is the danger of choking – especially when eating a large whole strawberry. Some cats are not good at “chewing” their food and the danger of choking can occur.

Please be careful if your cat eats anything strawberry flavored that contains the sweetener xylitol. Xylitol toxicity is well documented in dogs but not in cats. Although not found to be a problem in cats, it is safest to avoid giving your cat anything strawberry flavored sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol is a common ingredient in diet or low-calorie pastries and drinks, especially those created for people with diabetes. Learn more about Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs.

Do Cats Need Strawberries?

There is nothing in strawberries that cats require on a regular basis. What cats do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved cat food. Learn more about Nutrition in Cats.

The Safest Way to Give Strawberries to Cats

The safest way to give some strawberry to your cat is to give small pieces of clean fresh strawberry. Cats should never be fed the strawberry stem or leaves.

How Many Strawberries Can You Give a Cat?

One medium-sized strawberry cut up is plenty to give a small cat, two to three for a medium-sized cat, and three or four medium-sized strawberries for a large sized cat.

Can Cats Be Allergic to Strawberries?

While it is possible a cat to be allergic to anything, cat allergies to strawberries are uncommon.

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Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?

Cat owners commonly wonder about the toxicity of various human foods. The question about the safety of different foods increased after learning that certain foods were toxic which yielded a lot of press coverage. The most important toxic foods to cats are onions, garlic, chocolate, alcohol, and excessive amounts of fish.

Exposure to the dangers of various human foods has encouraged pet owners to ask about the safety of foods such as can cats eat peanut butter. There has also been a lot of press about the toxicity of peanut butter in dogs. Learn more about what cats can and can’t eat in this article: The Ultimate Guide to What Cats Can’t Eat.

Can Cats Eat Peanut Butter?

The answer to the question, “can cats eat peanut butter”… the answer is yes. Cats can eat peanut butter but in moderation. Although most cats don’t care for it some cats do enjoy the soft creamy texture and many enjoy this as a healthy snack.

The Dangers of Peanut Butter to Cats

The traditional peanut butter that we all grew up with and loved contained ground peanuts as the main ingredient and oil to give the peanut butter is creamy smooth texture. Many companies add a bit of sugar, honey or molasses to give the peanut butter some sweetness and salt for flavor.

However, some peanut butter manufacturers are adding xylitol to peanut butter, which is toxic to dogs. Xylitol is a sweeter used in place of sugar primarily because it is lower in calories. Xylitol is also an ingredient in many different gums and even baked goods. It is in many products designed for people with diabetes due to its low glycemic index. Xylitol can be highly toxic to dogs! The peanut kinds of butter that contain xylitol include: Go Nuts, Co.; Hank’s Protein Plus Peanut Butter; Krush Nutrition; Nuts ‘N More; and P28. Learn more — go to Xylitol Toxicity in Dogs. Xylitol can cause low blood sugar and liver failure in dogs.

However, neither peanut butter nor xylitol has been shown to be toxic to cats. However, the best thing to do before feeding your cat peanut butter is to check the ingredients of your peanut butter before sharing with your cat and if you see the ingredient xylitol, avoid giving it to your cat. There is some concern amongst veterinarian that xylitol could be a problem in cats but just has not yet been documented.

Although uncommon in cats, ingestion of large amounts of peanut butter can cause gastrointestinal upset such as diarrhea. Signs of problems include vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, abdominal pain, straining to defecate, and/or a decreased appetite.

Do Cats Need Peanut Butter?

There is nothing in peanut butter that cats require on a regular basis. What cats do need is a high-quality AAFCO approved cat food. Learn more about Nutrition in Cats.

The Safest Way to Give Peanut Butter to Cats

The safest way to give some peanut butter to your cat is to give a dab of fresh peanut butter. To be safest, cats should never be fed peanut butter containing xylitol.

How Much Peanut Butter Can You Give a Cat?

One-half teaspoon of peanut butter is plenty to give a cat.

Can Cats Be Allergic to Peanut Butter?

While it is possible for a cat to be allergic to anything, cat allergies to peanut butter are uncommon.

Who Can You Call About a Suspected Toxicity in Cats?

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