Home Cooking - The most effective nutritional program for your cat(s) is one where you provide whole, mostly raw select foods. If the very highest level of balanced nutrition is your goal, a good place to start is with a call to the Animal Healing
Center in Redmond, WA, requesting recipes they routinely provide to those interested in home-cooking.

There are also several excellent books available from bookstores or online at www.amazon.com that contain recipes for all species of animals. While you're book browsing, please pick up a copy of "Super-Nutrition for Animals." It will give you
an excellent understanding of nutrition basics.

Advantage - The brand name for a raw, frozen version of home-cooking. Best used as a supplement to a home-cooking regimen for those times when you can't prepare the animal's meal yourself. Chicken & turkey, along with vegetables and herbs. Difficult to find due to the fact that the retailer must provide freezer space to maintain their stock - and few do. The only location we're aware of currently in the Seattle area is Raining Cats & Dogs in Bellevue, WA.

Precise -
One of the highest quality brands of packaged dry and canned cat food available. Martha's rigorous testing and research has produced very positive information and results. Widely available at premium pet food retailers.

Wysong
- A limited-production brand that benefits greatly from some unique concepts in packaging. Very high and consistent quality — if you can find it.

Missing Link
- Even the most well-intentioned nutritional program will most likely be lacking in some essential nutrients and trace minerals. It would be practically impossible to duplicate the perfectly balanced diet our animal-friends found in the wild. But with the addition of Missing Link to the animal's diet, you'll overcome those defficiencies completely. No matter what else your beloved animal friend is eating, it should include a daily dose of Missing Link — without exceptions.



Super Nutrition For Cats

Excerpted from "Super Nutrition For Animals"
by Howard Peiper, Nina Anderson, & Alicia McWatters

(reprinted with permission) Sixty three million cats in the United States eat primarily what their owners give them. Many do not have a choice. If left to their own devices, most cats and dogs would eat differently out in the wild. Do they know something we don't? Do they really care that pet foods look appealing? Of course, they are attracted by smell, but certain ingredients may not be good for them. They eat it anyway because they have no alternatives.

Providing them with fresh meat from the grocery store may not be the best choice either. Hormones and drugs are administered to feedlot animals on a regular basis. FDA regulations state that ten days before slaughter (or before human consumption), antibiotic therapy must cease. Are our inspectors enforcing these regulations? Do these "pollutants" end up in the flesh of these feed lot animals and in their meat which you give to your animals? If you prefer to put together your pet's dinner, choose free-range or organically fed meat sources.

Pet food manufacturers are allowed to use this same meat plus "road pizza," diseased and pus-laden animals, euthanized pets, all labeled "by-products." Also included in pet food are turkey and chicken gullets. They are full of indigestible and potentially harmful materials such as gravel and stones , which can cause diarrhea and blockages in dogs and cats. Metal bands on poultry are not normally removed before processing, and therefore can find their way into your pet's dinner. Also sometimes found in canned pet food, are the identification tags from euthanized pets — a horrible, but realistic eye opener to the lack of control in what goes in your cat or dog's dinner. Natural pet food manufacturers are aware of the hazards of "tainted" foods and go to great lengths to avoid these meat sources.

Food.
We start off by letting you know what ingredients many manufacturers add to pet foods. You must be avid label readers if you are going to avoid veterinary bills. Pet foods may contain not only preservatives and additives. But the actual food may contain pus, fecal matter, road kill, viruses, cancerous tumors, infected blood, rancid fillers and bacteria. These by-products according to Dr. P.F. McGargle, a veterinarian who has also served as a federal meat inspector, "can include moldy, rancid or spoiled processed meats as well as tissue too severely riddled with cancer to be eaten by people." Dr. Alfred Plechner, D.V.M. comments on by-products stating that "diseased tissue, pus, hair, assorted slaughterhouse rejects, and carcasses in varying
states of decomposition, are sterilized with chemicals, heat and pressure procedures."In some cases, additional processing with chemical sprays also occurs. Pet food may also contain many of the preservatives, fillers and additives that go into our food, but that does not make them healthy for your pet.

Protein, Carbohydrates and Fats.
Nutritional deficiencies can show up in your pet in many ways. The easiest to notice is dry, flaky skin and sparse, coarse, brittle hair coat. Becoming aware of what goes into your pet's food is the first step. Pet food companies have done a lot of research to make sure your animal receives the proper nutrients. We should thank them and learn from them. Pet food manufacturers provide protein by including meat and certain vegetables, especially greens.

If you decide to cook for your pet, you may leave out certain ingredients they need. Cats and dogs need different nutrients in different amounts than humans, therefore human diets may not be suitable for Fido or Fluffy. Both dogs and cats need protein in their diets to provide specific animo acids which their bodies are unable to produce in sufficient quantity. Cats, for instance, are unable to manufacture taurine, therefore this must be provided by a meat based diet. A taurine deficient cat can develop feline central retinal degeneration, eventually leading to blindness, low weight, reduced growth and also cause a fatal condition which weakens their heart muscle and cause death. Cats require eleven specific amino acids.

Dogs need ten amino acids in proper balance as well as a high supply of methoinine and tryptophane. Although dogs tolerate vegetarianism better than cats, you still may be creating deficiencies that can lead to illness. Vegetarian diets must contain an excellent source of protein, such as wheat or barley grass, sea vegetables or nutritional yeast.

Animals need carbohydrates which provide the body with energy. If a diet consists of an excessive amount of carbohydrates, the animal can develop diarrhea. Grains commonly used in pet food are wheat and soy. These are highly allergenic and may make a dog chew at the root of his tail and lick his feet. Amaranth and barley would be a better choice. Beet pulp is an excellent source of fiber which paces the rate of digestion and permits water to be properly removed from the colon. It also removes scale from collecting in the colon, is a source of vitamin B and contains micro nutrients.

White rice or Brewers rice are commonly used fillers. They are devoid of nutrients and should be avoided. All grains lost vitamins in storage, and many vitamins in meat may be destroyed in the canning process. To compensate, some manufacturers over-fortify their food with copious quantities of vitamins that most likely are not even assimilated by the body because the enzymes needed for this process, are destroyed when the food is cooked. Allergenic foods may ferment in the colon, sometimes for months crating a very toxic environment. Not only does this create allergies, but it jeopardizes the health of the animal. Detoxifying is the only way to remove this debris, and switching to a premium "no-filler" food may be necessary to accomplish this task and maintain a healthy pet. Their diet also must consist of fats and oils which facilitate the transport and storage of fat soluble vitamins.

Some pet food companies use sunflower, safflower and corn oils, high in Omega-6 essential fatty acids (EFA). Both dogs and cats need EFA's for healthy metabolism, although the unbalancing of essential fatty acids, (Omega-3 and Omega-6) can lead to disease. If oils high in Omega-6 are not balanced by Omega-3, found in flax, for example, they can cause tumor formations. Flax can stimulate the immune system and act as an antioxidant, as well as balancing the effects of too large a quantity of Omega-6 oils. Fats, which provide EFAs are carriers for fat soluble vitamins, but may become rancid in stored meat or processed food. Rancid fat contributes to cancer and degenerative diseases such as heart problems and arthritis, according to the Surgeon General. Preservatives such as BHT and BHA are normally added to fight this problem, but a more natural choice would be vitamin C and E.

Manufacturers of the natural pet food products are diligent in preparing properly balanced meals and eliminating the hazardous additives and by-products. It is prudent to trust their formulas. Their research has given them the tools to provide the nutrients each specific breed of animal needs. Supplementing pet diets with certain nutrients is advisable, but let the experts provide the basics.

Yummy Treats and Vitamin Pills.
Table scraps have gotten a bad rap as being a no-no for animal diets, yet most people are trained by the animals to share their dinners. If your animal is getting proper nutrition through natural canned or dry food, plus supplements, a few table scraps (organic, of course) won't hurt, (depending on what you give them.) Never feed cats or dogs pork, as it is high in preservatives and carries a risk of trichinosis. Raw poultry should be avoided to guard against bacteria infection. Turkey is OK although its high amounts of tryptophan makes lazy animals more lethargic. Tuna fish and cow's milk can trigger allergic reactions in cats and dogs causing skin problems, hyperactivity, and asthma. The oil in tuna can rob your cat of vitamin E resulting in muscular disease called steatitis. If you give your cat tuna, supplement it with vitamin E.

Chocolate is a no-no for cats, as it contains theobromine which can be fatal. Most veggies are a healthy snack. Most whole unrefined grains are good for pets if they want to eat them. Vary them, because any grain (especially wheat or corn) eaten on a regular or daily basis, can create allergic reactions. This includes bread, cookies, chips, pasta, doggie cookies, etc. Refined grains and flours (white) should be avoided as they have little nutritional value and actually tax the body as it tries to digest them. Avoid treats with sugar as this substance plays as much havoc on your pet's system as it does on your own.

Supplementation is absolutely necessary for animals not fending for themselves in the wild. Cats require a higher concentration of vitamins and essential nutrients than any other animal in the world, including man! Mineral deficiencies, enzyme deficiencies, and essential fatty acid imbalance contribute to a compromised immune system in all species. An excellent indicator of nutritional deficiencies is the skin and coat of an animal. This includes disorders such as excessive shedding, hairballs in cats, bald patches, skin allergies, doggy odor, drippy eyes and hot spots.In order for nutrients from food or vitamin supplementation to do their job in the body, they must be assimilated. Giving an animal vitamins that they can not break down (due to a lack of enzymes) just means that you will have a nutrient rich litter box. Overcoming deficiencies in the basics of body chemistry will prevent this.

To order "Super-Nutrition for Animals," call (800) 903-3837.