Monday, December 19, 2011

Feline Inappropriate Urination: Acting out all over the house!

When medical issues have been ruled out, and husbandry issues have been resolved, if a cat is still eliminating outside the box, it is likely to be due to a behavioral issue.  Unfortunately, while litterbox environment and medical issues are relatively straightforward to address, behavioral issues can be complicated.

New furniture can stress your cat.
One of the most common causes of behavioral inappropriate elimination is stress. Stress can come from a variety of sources.  It can be due to a bold or aggressive animal re-establishing his territory or a timid, shy animal urinating because he is a “victim” of his social environment (being passive-aggressive). A change to the household that disrupts the cat’s schedule may also be a contributing factor to a cat choosing not to use the litterbox -- such as a new baby, visitors staying in the home, a child going off to college, a change in someone’s work schedule, a move to a new home, new furniture, a new pet, a family vacation, renovations to the home, a visit from a plumber or other repair-person, etc. In some cases, the behavior will resolve on its own after the event (such as vacations, visitors, and renovations), and in other cases, the behavior may be ongoing (new furniture, a baby, a new home). Each type of stressor may have several solutions.

For example:
If your cat eliminates inappropriately when you go on vacation, you may find that you can curb the behavior by boarding the cat while you are gone, hiring an in-home sitter versus having a neighbor stop by the house once or twice daily, or by taking your cat with you. Discussions with your veterinarian may even lead to recommendations for medicinal therapy while you are gone to alleviate anxiety.

If you are planning on getting a new pet or having a baby, preparing your cat for the new addition may head off any potential behavioral issues. Also, making sure to introduce the new pet to the resident cat on a gradual basis will help lessen the stress your cat may feel about a new addition.

When planning to move to a new home, it is often helpful to establish the cat in the new home prior to moving day, if possible, so that their first exposure to the new home is not amidst chaos. If your cat can be set up in a room with all his familiar things and you can avoid moving things into that room right away, that will also help. If your cat can’t be moved ahead of time, then moving your cats into a room that will be little-disturbed on moving day, such as a bathroom or walk-in closet may also help. Let the cat become accustomed to the moving-day room before allowing him out to explore the whole house. That way, if something about the new house is frightening, he has a safe place to retreat to.

Sometimes inappropriate elimination can become so ingrained in a cat that even once the stress has been removed, the behavior continues. If this is the case it is a good idea to seek advice from your veterinarian as to how to re-train your cat. 

Spraying posture - standing near a vertical surface, tail erect
If a cat chooses to eliminate near a door or window, it is likely that either the presence of feral/stray or wandering neighbor cats may be causing your cat stress, anxiety or frustration or stimulating your cat to mark his territory and warn off these tresspassers. It is important to determine if your cat is urinating or spraying, as these behaviors are approached differently. Spraying is generally performed in a standing position with the tail raised, and the urine is deposited on a vertical surface such as a wall or piece of furniture (though it may run down the wall and puddle on the floor). Spraying tends to deposit small amounts of urine as compared to the size of the urine clumps you find in the litterbox. The tail may appear to quiver or vibrate. When your cat is urinating, he will squat and deposit a large amount of urine on a horizontal surface.
Urinating posture - squatting

It is most commonly the male cat that sprays, but it is not unheard of for female cats to spray, also. Spaying and neutering your cats will help prevent this issue in most cats, as the lack of male and female hormones will dull the desire to mark and maintain territory, and the need to advertise sexual availability – which are the primary reasons that cats urine mark. However, about 10% of neutered males and 5% of neutered females also spray. In households with more than seven cats, the likelihood of spraying is high. 

If outside cats frustrate your cat, you may be able to address the problem by discouraging stray cats from visiting your house. A plant called Coleus canina, also known as the “scaredy cat plant” or the “pee-off plant” is a deterrent to cats, dogs and foxes. Coleus plants are those that you often see with brightly colored leaves. This species of Coleus has green foliage and small, spikes of pretty blue flowers in the summer. The plant only smells to the human nose when touched. In Michigan, Coleus plants are annuals, but can easily be propagated and cuttings can be kept in a frost-free place over winter. They prefer a dry, sandy soil and lots of sunlight and should be planted every 1-2 yards for best results.
Coleus canina flower

Cats also hate the smell of the herb rue. It has beautiful blue-tone leaves and tiny yellow flowers. Cats are also usually deterred by the smell of citrus, so placing orange or lemon peel in your yard may help deter strays. Similarly, coffee grounds, blood meal, cayenne pepper, lavender oil, lemon grass oil, citronella oil, peppermint oil and eucalyptus oil can be used near areas where outdoor cats like to hang out.

Avoid feeding birds or squirrels in your yard if your cat is bothered by stray cats.

Motion detectors that trigger sprinklers can be used to deter them from coming onto your property. Additionally, you can discourage your cat from looking outside by closing blinds or shades, or making the windowsill inaccessible. Double-sided tape, tin foil or strips of carpet runner on the sill may also deter your cat. 

Spraying can also result from territorial disputes between cats in the same household. They may need to be separated and reintroduced slowly, using food treats to reward and encourage peaceful behavior. This re-introduction can successfully develop good relations between cats in some cases, even if the spraying has been going on for a long time.

While the presence of other cats, lack of access to prey species or sexual maturity are the most common reasons that cats perform spraying behavior, other causes can be new or unfamiliar scents in the home (such as new furniture, or digging out the Christmas tree from the attic or bringing a live tree into the home) or frustration due to lack of mental stimulation. Often, spraying new items with a pheromone called Feliway can help lessen your cat’s desire to mark. This product mimics the scent of cat cheek gland secretions. Many cats will not spray on areas that have this scent. Increasing the amount of playtime for an under-stimulated cat may help ease frustration.

Behavior-related elimination issues are often addressed with anti-anxiety medications, such as Prozac (fluoxetine), BuSpar (buspirone), Elavil (amitriptyline), and Clomicalm (clomipramine). Anxitane is a neutraceutical (nutritional therapy) supplement of L-Theanine that has also been shown to aid in decreasing anxiety in cats. Medications are useful in helping to decrease behavioral inappropriate elimination, but they should always be used in conjunction with changes to the home or other environmental changes with the goal of hopefully weaning the cat off the medication, if possible.
More information about inappropriate elimination:
Lovin' the Litterbox: Husbandry Reasons Why Your Cat May Not Use the Litterbox
Kidneys and Crystals and Stones, Oh, My! Medical Reasons Why Your Cat May Not Use the Litterbox
Breaking the Cycle of Smell: How to Stop Habitual Elimination Problems

Friday, December 9, 2011

Feline Inappropriate Elimination: Kidneys and Crystals and Stones, oh my!

Struvite crystals
Struvite crystals in urine - the most common type we see
Even if your cat is currently using the litterbox and not eliminating elsewhere, he or she may be visiting the litterbox less frequently than necessary, which can lead to urination issues down the road. We strongly recommend making your cat's litterbox situation as ideal as you can to help prevent urination issues.

Why is it a bad idea to urinate infrequently? If a cat holds his urine in his bladder for a long period of time, the urine becomes more concentrated. Concentrated urine has more “stuff” in it – more cells, more protein, more body by-products, etc. and the more stuff that is in the urine, the more likely it is to stick together and form crystals and stones. Urinary crystals and stones are uncomfortable and can lead to some of the medical reasons why cats avoid the litterbox.

This is one of the reasons that, even if we suspect a medical issue, we will discuss ways in which you can make your litterboxes more pleasant for your cats. Many of the elimination problems we see are complex and may have several contributing issues that need addressing. Treating the medical condition in conjunction with making changes to the litterbox will often speed your cat's recovery, and encourage them to return to the litterbox sooner.

**NOTE: many times, a cat will not 100% stop using the litterbox - they are fastidious about their environment and instinctively want to use the box. Most cats will use the box sometimes and eliminate elsewhere other times, so just because your cat is still going in the box sometimes doesn't mean that there isn't a medical problem. Also, just because your cat has always used the litterbox before doesn't mean that there isn't something about the box they don't like. Again, cats want to use the box, so are often very tolerant about litterbox situations that they consider to be sub-par - they just go less frequently, or they tolerate the box as-is until something else in their life changes.**

There are a number of medical reasons why a cat will stop using the litterbox:

Urinary crystals look like sand
Once removed from the bladder and dried, crystals look like sand.
--Urinary crystals or stones: Crystals and stones can be found in any part of the urinary system – the kidneys, the ureters, the bladder or the urethra. In male cats, these situations can quickly become an emergency, as clumps of crystals or small stones can become lodged in the tiny tube that leads from the bladder to the outside of the body (the urethra). This blocks the passage of urine, which means that the urine has nowhere to go, except to backup towards the kidneys. This causes the kidneys to start to shut down, since they can’t pump out any more urine. We call these cats “blocked cats”. Their bladders feel hard and firm, their bellies are tender, and the bladder can be in danger of breaking, like an over-inflated balloon. These kitties may be straining in the litterbox and not producing anything, or may just dribble a few drops of urine in the box. They are painful and may not eat, or may vomit near the litterbox. Again, this is an emergency, and a cat in this situation should be seen by a veterinarian as soon as possible!

Urinary crystals tend to show up well with an ultrasound but not on x-ray. Urinary stones will often show up questionably on ultrasound but will show up better on x-ray. There are a rare few stones that will not show up on x-ray, however (we call these "non-radiodense" or "non-radio-opaque" stones). Because of this, if the presence of a stone is suspected, it may be recommended or necessary to do both an x-ray and an ultrasound to confirm its presence. Because of the size of urinary stones, it is not likely that they can be diagnosed with just a urinalysis because they will not pass out of the bladder.

X-ray of a urinary bladder with stones
A urinary bladder full of stones.
Sometimes, a cat may show no real indication of bladder stones or bladder discomfort.  One of our technicians, Jennifer, has a cat named Marley whose only indication that he had stones in his bladder was that he stopped squatting in the litterbox.She was frustrated because he was standing in the box and urinating a good stream of normal-looking urine over the edge of the box. She thought that he was having problems with hip arthritis, but when the x-rays were taken, the hips looked normal and there were 9 stones visible in the bladder! A quick urinalysis indicated that there was microscopic blood in his urine but no crystals or infection. Shortly after that, he had surgery to remove the stones from his bladder (a cystotomy) and after he recovered from surgery, he started squatting to urinate again. He must have felt so much better!

For females, the situation is less dire, but the symptoms are similar – straining in the box, you may see bloody urine, dribbling, crying in the litterbox, or inappropriate elimination.

X-ray of a cat with kidney stones
Dr. Bailey's cat, Tic Tic, has kidney stones in both kidneys.
If the stone is in the kidney, it is less treatable. In some cases, the stone may pass out of the kidney and become stuck in the tube that goes from the kidney to the bladder (the ureter). In this case, the kidney may stop working. In other cases, the stones are so big they will not pass, but surgical removal involves the risk of damaging the kidney's delicate filtration structures. In some situations, a change in diet can help dissolve the stones, or if the stones are limited to one kidney, the kidney can be removed.

These problems are one of the reasons that we recommend that cats eat 6-9 oz canned food daily. Canned food helps dilute the urine and helps prevent the formation of crystals and stones.

X-ray of a constipated cat
This x-ray is of a cat that is severely constipated.
--Constipation: Cats that cannot pass stool are uncomfortable, and may strain unproductively in the litterbox, only to defecate elsewhere later. They also may vomit near the litterbox. They may pass small amounts of diarrhea around a solid stool that they cannot pass. Some of these symptoms may be easily confused with straining to urinate, or a blocked cat, so don't feel bad if you call for an appointment for straining to urinate and discover your cat is constipated, and don't assume that your straining cat is constipated only to find out later when your cat is very ill that he was blocked.

Cats with a history of urinary crystals or stones should have a urine sample and/or x-rays checked every 6-12 months for the rest of their lives in order to prevent recurrence. They should also eat canned food only to help keep their urine dilute and the pH more neutral to help prevent recurrence. If your cat absolutely will not eat canned food and has a history of urinary crystals or stones, a prescription-grade dry diet may be necessary.

For these reasons, it is good to occasionally monitor your cat's behavior in the litterbox and become familiar with what is normal for your cat, so that if something changes and you become concerned, you can describe it accurately to the veterinarian.

--Diabetes: Cats with undiagnosed or uncontrolled diabetes drink large amounts of water and also urinate large volumes. These cats may not be able to get to the litterbox in time to urinate, or they may object to a flooded litterbox that has not yet been scooped. They may also just not feel well and choose to urinate elsewhere because they feel poorly. Cats with diabetes also tend to eat well but lose weight. Long-term, uncontrolled diabetes can lead to a life-threatening situation called Diabetic Ketoacidosis (DKA), which usually requires hospitalization and intensive care.

--Hyperthyroid disease: Cats with overactive thyroid glands also drink a lot and urinate a lot. These cats have an overactive metabolism – high heart rate, increased hunger, weight loss, and often high blood pressure. Just like diabetics, they may not be able to get to the litterbox in time to urinate, may flood the box and then not want to use it again, or may just feel poorly and choose to urinate elsewhere as a result. Sometimes, these cats also have soft stools, and may defecate outside the litterbox. They also tend to have high energy levels and may “talk” a lot, especially at night (we call this "inappropriate vocalization"!).

--Kidney Disease: Cats can lose up to 75% of their kidney function before they start to show signs of illness. Like diabetics and hyperthyroid cats, these cats will usually drink more and urinate more, but they are more likely to feel poorly and eat less. Because their kidneys are not filtering the toxins from their bodies normally, the waste products of normal life tend to build up in the blood stream and cause them to feel nauseous and lackluster. Just like diabetics, they may not be able to get to the litterbox in time to urinate, may flood the box and then not want to use it again, or may just feel poorly and choose not to urinate in the box.

Bacterial culture growing bacteria
Bacterial culture is a very good way to help I.D. bacteria in the urine.
--Urinary tract infection: Occasionally, cats will develop a bacterial infection in their bladders. This could be due to poor grooming around the rear end, often due to weight issues. Some cats are naturally susceptible to urinary tract infections, or may become more susceptible due to a medical issue, such as diabetes. Normal urine is sterile while in the bladder. It isn't until the urine passes out of the body that it picks up bacteria. Because of this, the best way to collect the sterile urine is with a needle inserted into the bladder. Any urine that passes through the urethra will have bacterial contaminant from the external genitalia and fur.

Sterile urine collected directly from the bladder will not grow bacteria on a culture plate. Urine that has an infection will grow in little dots and lines called "colonies" - usually in less than 24 hours. These colonies can then be easily classified by looking at them under the microscope and noting their patterns of growth, as well as the color and smell of the colonies. Some antibiotics work better for some types of bacteria than others, and the doctors can make better decisions about which medication will best treat the infection. In some recurrent cases where the cat is hard to medicate or has not been fully treated in the past, the culture plate may need to be sent in to a reference laboratory for more specific testing (called a "culture and sensitivity") that includes testing for antibiotic sensitivity or resistance.

It is also because of antibiotic resistance that antibiotics should be given regularly for the entire course of the prescription, and not stopped when the symptoms of the infection go away. A few individual bacteria that linger can become a whole new infection that is stronger and more resistant. Some cats that have chronic recurrent urinary tract infections may really have one infection that never gets fully treated because the course of antibiotics is not long enough, the antibiotics are stopped too soon, or a urine culture is never rechecked after treatment to show that the infection has fully resolved.

In the case of a bacterial infection, white blood cells to fill the bladder to combat the bacteria, inflammation of the lining of the bladder may lead to blood in the urine, and there is also usually a change to the pH level of the urine (changes the acidity). These changes can make it quite painful to urinate, and the cat, not knowing that it is sick, may link the litterbox to the pain and decide to go elsewhere, in search of a comforting surface to urinate on.

Because of these issues, it is important to check a urine sample, bloodwork, and/or x-rays when a cat is urinating or defecating outside the box in addition to making changes in litterbox husbandry.

More information about inappropriate elimination:
Lovin' the Litterbox: Husbandry Reasons Why Your Cat May Not Use the Litterbox
Acting Out All Over the House: Behavioral Reasons Why Your Cat May Not Use the Litterbox
Breaking the Cycle of Smell: How to Stop Habitual Elimination Problems

Monday, December 5, 2011

Case Report: Debbie - why it is recommended to spay your cat when she's young

**Note: Pictures of surgery below - Beware to the squeamish!**

Dilute patched tabby cat
Debbie, pre-surgery
Debbie is a 2 year old stray female who arrived at Elizabeth Lake Animal Rescue to look for a home. She appeared to be pregnant on November 5th. She was active, friendly and had a good appetite. Pregnancy lasts about 63 days in a cat, and cats begin to show pregnancy at about 5 weeks along, so the decision was made to wait for the kittens. On December 2, concern arose that she was not yet showing signs of delivering the kittens, so she was brought to our hospital for an exam.

Lateral radiograph with no visible anatomy
Pre-surgical radiograph
Usually, ultrasound can detect kittens after two weeks of pregnancy, and the heartbeat can be seen on ultrasound after day 24. Debbie’s X-ray showed no indication of fetal skeletons – only large fluid-filled areas that obscured normal anatomy. Ultrasound also showed no sign of kittens – just large chambers of fluid.

Normal post-surgical abdominal radiograph
Post-surgical radiograph
Feline female reproductive anatomy
Feline female reproductive anatomy
This situation can quickly become an emergency if the fluid in the uterus is contaminated with bacteria (called a pyometra), so Debbie was taken to surgery to spay her. Unlike a normal spay surgery patient, Debbie was considered to be a critical case – she had to be checked for systemic infection, changes to her kidney and liver function, or other signs of poor health. Outwardly, she seemed to feel well. Although Dr. Bailey anticipated the surgery would go well, we had to be ready for the patient to quickly change from stable to crash status due to her delicate condition. Emergency drugs were kept at the ready, but her blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen levels remained stable. Sometimes in these cases, the fluid in the uterus is just a clear fluid with no cells or infection, in which case the problem is called a “hydrometra”. In Debbie’s case, she had something called a “hydrometrocolpos” which is fluid built up in both the branching uterus and in the vaginal canal. Dr. Bailey had to remove more of her reproductive tract than usual, because her vaginal canal was swollen with fluid to the size of her bladder, and if it had been left intact, it would have filled up again and been at risk for infection, due to abnormal anatomy (probably a congenital defect).

Normally, a spay incision requires about 2-3 sutures because the uterus is very small. In Debbie’s case, her three-pound uterus was so large that her surgical incision ran the length of her belly.

Financially speaking, a spay surgery usually runs about $200 whereas the kind of intensive-care surgery that Debbie had usually runs $800-1500, depending on the length of surgery and the number of complications that arise.
Normal and abnormal feline uterine anatomy
On the left, Debbie's uterus. On the right, a normal uterus
After a normal spay surgery, a cat will generally be spry, and want to eat almost before she can stand. In Debbie’s case, she required hospitalization on IV fluids overnight, and was not interested in eating after surgery.

Fortunately, she did very well overnight and was able to be released from the hospital. She is doing well at the rescue group, Elizabeth Lake Animal Rescue, and once she has her sutures out, she will likely be ready to look for her forever home!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Feline Inappropriate Elimination: Lovin’ the Litterbox

A longhair dilute calico half in and half out of a litterbox
There is something about this litterbox that this cat doesn't like.
 One of the most common reasons that we see cats here at Exclusively Cats is for inappropriate elimination – either urinating or defecating outside the litterbox. There are many reasons that a cat may be avoiding the litterbox, but the reasons tend to fall into 3 categories:

1)      Husbandry issues: “I don’t like something about my litterbox!”
2)      Medical issues: “I don’t like something about how I am feeling!”
3)      Behavioral issues: “I don’t like something about my environment!”

Most people assume that their cat is eliminating outside the litterbox for behavioral reasons, but more commonly, it is either an issue with the litterbox itself or a medical issue. Fortunately, husbandry and medical issues are much more easily solved than behavioral problems.

In the image above, the cat is standing half-in and half-out of the box. This indicates that there may be something about the box that the cat doesn't like. It looks like this box may be too small for the cat, or there may be something about the litter texture that she doesn't like.

What is husbandry?  Husbandry is a fancy term to describe the care and management of animals.

Many experts have discussed the issue of cats and litterboxes over and over again. Most experts agree on a few key facts about litterbox maintenance that will help keep cats happiest about their boxes.

--The number of litterboxes: x=n+1 where n = the number of cats in the home
Yes, math lovers, there is actually a mathematical formula for determining the best number of boxes in your house. The ideal number of litterboxes that you should have is 1 more litterbox than the number of cats you live with. This does mean that ideally, a single cat should have two boxes. This is for two reasons – most cats like to urinate in one box and defecate in another, and most cats prefer to have a litterbox on every level of the home. 

This can especially be true for kittens – although kittens instinctively seek to bury their urine and stool, they’re still babies and may have a hard time judging how long it is going to take them to get to the box if they have to go. If they’re up in the second floor bedroom and have to go all the way to the basement to potty, they probably are going to stop somewhere along the way to go somewhere else because they just can’t hold it anymore!

Three different colored litterboxes in a line
Although we see three boxes, cats generally see this as one box.
--The location of the boxes: Most cats prefer to have their boxes located a little out of the way but not isolated. Most people prefer to tuck the boxes away in a utility room or laundry area, away from public use rooms like the family room or kitchen. Cats like their boxes easily accessible, and away from scary machines like the furnace or the washing machine. If your timid cat is in the middle of using the box when the furnace kicks in, that may be all he needs to convince himself he is never going back there again! The same is true for less obvious scary threats –  walking past the barking dog’s crate to get to the litterbox, or when company is over, having to pass through the noisy dining room on Thanksgiving Day in order to get to the box may be just enough to make your cat decide it’s easier to use the bed or the rug in the front hallway instead of facing her fears.

Also, cats like their boxes to be easily visible. If the box is tucked away in the back corner of a basement storage room with the light off, they may have trouble locating it. Although cats can see in about 1/6th the light that we humans need, they do need some light to navigate – especially as they get older. If they can’t see the litterbox, they may not use it.

Additionally, cats don’t like strong smells, so if your litterbox is located next to a plug-in air freshener, or your child’s sweaty-smelly sporting equipment, they may avoid going near it.

When following the x=n+1 rule of litterboxes, placing three boxes next to each other may look like three litterboxes to us, but to a cat who is more interested in smell than sight (and who likely can't count), three boxes next to each other is still just one big litter area. Each litterbox should be located away from each other - across the room or even in different rooms.
Small gray kitten in small littterbox
This box is the right size for this kitten.

-- The size and shape of the litterbox: Cats generally prefer a litterbox that is 1.5 times the length of their body. This length may become longer as the cat gets older and less flexible.

Most cats also prefer an uncovered box, since the cover tends to keep in odors (much like a Port-A-Potty)  – which is exactly why most people like them. Imagine, though, if the smell we are trying to avoid were magnified by 200 times! Your cat has every reason to avoid a box that to them is oppressively stinky – especially if it smells like another cat’s stool.
A large orange tabby cat in a small corner litterbox
This litterbox is too small for this cat.

Another reason that cats prefer uncovered boxes is that despite being a carnivore species, cats are small enough that they are also a prey species to larger carnivores. They instinctively feel a need to keep an eye out while in a vulnerable position – such as using the litterbox. Many cats that will use a covered litterbox will stand in the doorway with their heads stuck out of the box – both for visibility’s sake and to get their nose out of the stinky litterbox.

An orange tabby cat in front of a converted litterbox
Sometimes a converted litterbox is best.
A third reason that cats prefer their boxes uncovered is spatial issues. Once a cover is on the box, the space a cat has to turn around and scratch at the litter becomes much smaller.

Ideally, under-the bed storage bins or 30-40 gallon tubs with an opening cut out are great litterbox solutions. Many of the litterboxes sold at pet stores are just too small for adult cats, and quite a bit more expensive than the larger tubs.

--The type of litter: Cats prefer unscented litters to scented litters. Again, because of their super-strong sense of smell, the scented litters that are pleasant to us smell overpowering to them (especially if they are used in conjunction with a covered litterbox!).

A litterbox filled with strips of paper
Paper litter may cause cats to stop using the litterbox.
The type of litter may also have a texture or taste that your cat doesn’t like. You may wonder why taste matters – most cats groom their paws after visiting the litterbox. If they come out of the box and their paws taste bad, they may not want to return.

The absorptive ability of the litter is also important. Most cats prefer the scoopable clay litters to the plain clay, the pine, corn or wheat litters. May people express a desire to change their litter due to environmental concerns, but cats just don’t see it that way. Given a choice between a “green” litter and scoop clay, they will choose the clay, and given no choice, they may decide to go to the laundry pile, a plastic bag, a rubber-backed rug, or the couch instead of the litterbox.

A litterbox in a cabinet or end table
This box doesn't really have enough space for a cat when it's closed.
--Additives in the litterbox: Less is best! Cats don’t really approve of plastic liners – their claws get caught, and the texture is adversive. Additionally, the plastic liner can get folded and inhibit scooping the box, so that more urine and stool are left behind, increasing the odor of the box.

Baking soda has a bitter flavor that may deter cats if they lick their paws after using the box, and other additives may change the texture of the litter and make it less desirable.

--Cleanliness of the box: Most cats prefer that the box be scooped daily, sometimes even twice to three times daily. Imagine going into your own bathroom and finding that someone forgot to flush the toilet and left no toilet paper on the roll…

A small kitten drowning in litter
Filling the box too full may upset your cat.
Cats also prefer about 2-3 inches of litter in the box at all times, so when scooping, make sure to replenish the litter to about that level. Sometimes more litter than 2-3 inches can make a cat feel unsteady, so more is not always better.

Try to completely change the litter every 4-6 weeks, washing the box with a mild, unscented detergent like Dawn dish soap. Avoid heavy cleaners like bleach, PineSol or Lysol because the residual chemical odors are a deterrent, and the phenols in some cleaners is toxic if inhaled or ingested by cats. 

More information about inappropriate elimination:
Kidneys and Crystals and Stones, Oh, My! Medical Reasons Why Your Cat May Not Use the Litterbox
Acting Out All Over the House: Behavioral Reasons Why Your Cat May Not Use the Litterbox
Breaking the Cycle of Smell: How to Stop Habitual Elimination Problems

Shop for our recommended litterbox products at our Amazon Affiliate store:

Friday, November 18, 2011

Celebrating Thanksgiving with your Cat

A cat with a Pilgrim hat on 

Do your cats hate the holidays? Do they run when company comes over? It might be a good idea to set your cats up with a special room in your house for the holidays - a quiet place where they can escape the hustle and bustle of friends and family getting together to celebrate. Make sure that their safe place has a litterbox, food, water and a comfy bed in case they hide for more than a few hours. Some cats readily overcome their fear of strangers and come out to mingle on their own, but most cats would just prefer to wait until after the house is quiet again before they emerge.

Sometimes, very timid cats may benefit from anti-anxiety medications at busy and chaotic times of year.

Some more curious cats may try to come help cook the turkey and stuffing - be careful about cats near hot stove burners, or getting shut in the pantry, especially if there are extra helpers in the kitchen that don't know your cat's habits.

When it comes time to sit down for your turkey dinner, you may want to make sure that your cats are celebrating elsewhere and not begging at the table for some gravy! While turkey is a very appropriate food for cats, be aware that some of the spices we may use are not. Sage is an herb that cats are extremely sensitive to, and can cause an upset stomach or depression of the nervous system. Onions and garlic can cause the destruction of red blood cells. Small bones can cause choking or bowel obstructions. Ingestion of broken bones can cause perforations of the intestinal tract, so if you offer turkey meat, make sure it is boneless.

In addition, cake batter has raw eggs that can carry salmonella, and bread dough can expand in your cat's stomach and become quite uncomfortable. Be aware that parchment paper, tin foil or saran wrap with yummy turkey drippings (or other tasty treats) on it could also be a hazard, as they are easily swallowed while a cat is licking the deliciousness off of them.

Watch out for the begging cat that weaves around your legs while you're carrying that 20-pound turkey to the dining room table!

And, of course, after the hustle and bustle is over, make sure to spend some quality snuggle time with your cat, letting him know how thankful you are that he's willing to put up with all these silly human shenanigans and share your home with you!

We at Exclusively Cats are thankful for all you loving cat owners that trust us with the care of your beloved companions! Happy Thanksgiving!

A cat dressed in Native American costume
(This and other adorable pet hats are available from "To Scarborough Fair" at!)

Monday, November 7, 2011

Hello, baby! - Preparing your cat for a new addition to the family

A tabby cat peeking out from under a couch  | Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital, Waterford, MI
Since babies are a big deal around E-Cats right now, this seems like an appropriate topic to write about! Many cats adapt quite well to new babies, but cats are creatures of habit and the chaos and excitement introduced by a new little one may make your cats disappear, or in some cases, eliminate inappropriately outside the litterbox. The most important tip is to try to keep your cats’ routines as close to normal as possible.

First: While a woman should not clean litterboxes during pregnancy, there is no need to get rid of the cat.

Second: Make sure that your cat is up to date on her vaccinations, is on a monthly parasite preventive, and has had a recent stool exam at the veterinary office prior to bringing the baby home. There are so many other things to think about with a new little one in the house that worrying about your cat’s health, or whether your baby could contract an illness from your cat should be dealt with before you’re distracted and sleep-deprived!

Cat on a crib tent  | Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital, Waterford, MI

Slowly begin to introduce baby items into your home. Set up the crib ahead of time. Try to discourage your cat from sleeping in the crib, since he won’t understand why you want him to stop sleeping there once the baby arrives. Once the baby arrives, naps are best taken with the door shut, or with a crib tent; placed over the top of a crib. While a cat does not steal a baby’s breath, as myths suggest, it is safer to make sure that the cat does not have access to a baby while it is sleeping. Another option could be to install a temporary screen door on your baby’s room until the baby is more mobile. Below is a link to one such crib tent at our Amazon Affiliate page.

A cat playing with a baby gym  | Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital, Waterford, MI
Allow your cat to investigate baby items, learning the scents of baby powder, formula, wipes and diaper cream.

While you are in the hospital, send home a used receiving blanket ahead of the baby so that the cats can become acquainted to the baby’s smell before they see him. When your cats investigate the blanket, give them praise or treats to reinforce calm, curious behavior about the baby versus fear.

A baby lying on a young cat  | Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital, Waterford, MI
One of the most disturbing things about a new baby, in a cat’s perspective, is the noise that babies make. Some cats run and hide when they hear a baby cry, others redirect aggressive behaviors to other members of the household – people or other cats – because they are stressed. It’s a great idea to get your cat used to the sounds of a new baby before they actually have to deal with it on a daily basis. You can go online and Google “baby cry sounds” or similar search criteria, or record the baby of a friend or family member. There is even a CD of baby sounds available for purchase. Better yet, have someone visit with their baby – no pinching him to make him cry, though! Offer your cats treats while they listen to the sounds of babies crying.

If your cat is of the more delicate or dramatic temperament, you may want to place some Feliway diffusers in the baby’s room or near places in the home that the baby will spend time. Feliway is a synthetic pheromone that smells like the scent that cats leave in areas when they are marking things that they like.

A cat sniffing a baby's head  | Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital, Waterford, MI
Allow your cat to approach by choice
Once the baby comes home, allow the cats to approach the baby on their own. Many cats, having had an introduction to scents and sounds of the baby prior to its arrival, will show hesitant curiosity and will come up to the baby and sniff it while you are holding her. Never leave your cats unattended with your baby. You may want to allow your cat to sit on your lap while you are feeding the baby so that you can talk to both your cat and your baby and make positive associations between the two.

Make sure that even amidst the changes to your life that you still find time to set aside just for your cats – grooming, playing or just sitting and enjoying each other’s company.

A cat passing through a cat-friendly baby gate  | Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital, Waterford, MI
Give your cat a way around baby gates
Cats on cat-shelves and walkways  | Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital, Waterford, MI
Give cats elevated escape from the baby
While your baby is still non-mobile, start to plan for when the little one starts to move around on his own. Think ahead about how to keep cat food, water and litter out of reach of your baby but still easily accessible to your cat. Provide your cats with elevated perches or other areas where they can escape from curious little hands and mouths. Some strategically placed baby gates can allow cats access to escape areas by climbing over (or under) while keeping your baby safe. You may even want to create a quiet little cat paradise area well stocked with blankets and toys in a childfree zone.

A baby chewing a kitten tail  | Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital, Waterford, MI
Tails are not for pulling!
You will also want to desensitize your cats to the kind of handling they might expect from small hands. Touch their faces, tails, toes, and in the ears and mouth – anywhere small hands might explore. This will decrease the likelihood that your cats will bite or slap at the baby if she gets to “fresh”. However, as much as you can train your pets to be tolerant, all animals, just like people, have a frustration threshold. You cannot teach an animal to endure repetitious pain, no matter how well-mannered they are. As your baby matures, small pats may become more vigorous or even become slaps. A 6 lb. baby sitting on a 12 lb. cat is more tolerable than a 20lb. child sitting on a 12lb. cat. You also have to teach your baby to be gentle and respectful of the pets in your home as well. There are children’s books on the subject, and it is a good idea to teach your child the term “Gentle!” as soon as possible – it works with pulling people’s hair and hitting as well as with pulling kitty’s tail!
Tabby cat sniffing baby's hand  | Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital, Waterford, MI
Teach babies as soon as you can to let a cat smell them before petting
A baby gently touching a happy cat on the head  | Exclusively Cats Veterinary Hospital, Waterford, MIAlso make sure to trim your cat’s nails well before the baby comes home. Some people may advise you to have your cat declawed if you are having a baby, for safety’s sake, but if you teach your cat and your baby mutual respect, you should have little to fear about your cat scratching your baby. In fact, putting your cat through surgery when it is already traumatized by the changes to the household may not be in the best interest of your cat’s health. Also, declawing cats over a certain age and weight can result in prolonged recovery – it can be done, but is a very unpleasant experience for your cat. If your cat’s paws are fully loaded and you are concerned, then you may want to try applying Soft Paws to her nails. This allows your cat to keep her claws, while making them safe for baby. Be aware, however, that Soft Paws need to be changed about every 4-6 weeks or the nails, which are still growing beneath the colorful caps, will grow into your cat’s paw pads – which can both cause pain and infection.

If you are having trouble acclimating your cat to a new addition to the home, you may want to involve your veterinarian. The doctor may have additional suggestions for your individual situation, or in some cases a behavioral medication may be recommended.

If you're a multi-species family, a great resource for information on introducing dogs and babies is Family Paws Parent Education.

Friday, October 28, 2011

What Should I Know about Cat Nutrition? Part 3

Answers to last week's ingredient question:
1) Meow Mix
2) Purina Naturals
3) Purina One Beyond
4) Science Diet Oral Care
5) Evo Turkey and Chicken Flavor
6) Before Grain Chicken
7) Fancy Feast Fish and Shrimp Feast

When considering the cost of the food you feed your cat, you may want to consider how much of the food your cat will require daily. Less calorie-dense foods will be fed in greater volume and may actually end up costing more than a more expensive bag of food that you can get more servings out of. When figuring out what you’re paying for, sometimes it is best to figure out cost-per-meal instead of cost-per-pound.
On the other hand, premium foods are not required to be made of any better or healthier ingredients than a regular complete and balanced cat food.

Here are three premium (dog) foods compared – you can see that some of them need to be fed in much greater volume than others!

      A.     Before Grain Made with Buffalo, Chicken Meal
B. Taste of the Wild High Prairie Canine Formula with Roasted Bison and Roasted Venison
C. Orijen Adult Formula All Breeds
D. EVO Turkey & Chicken Formula Dry Dog Food

Dry food is often easier to feed because it can be left for cats to nibble at free choice, and it is easier on the wallet because it is less costly than canned food, however many experts agree that dry foods should be fed in moderation -- some even suggest that the worst canned food is still better than the best dry food. If using a dry food, look for one that's high in protein and low in carbohydrates, and make sure your cat has plenty of water.

A cat eating kibble
The reason canned food is often better than dry is simple: cats are desert animals that instinctively get their daily water from their prey and have little thirst drive to look for water. Sure, your cat will drink water both when eating canned food and when eating dry, and may even drink more water when eating a dry-food-only diet, but studies have shown that even though they seek out the water dish more frequently, cats that eat only dry food may consume as little as half the daily water that a canned-food-eating cat takes in! Drinking less water means that your cat is perpetually mildly dehydrated, leading to super-concentrated urine and a higher risk of urinary crystals and bladder stones. Super-concentrated urine is also harder on the kidneys long-term, which could shorten the life of the kidneys.

Other benefits of canned food include: a higher protein/lower carbohydrate content, since we know that cats need very little in the way of carbohydrates in their diet; a greater feeling of satiety on fewer calories, leading to a better body condition; and most cats just plain like it better!

Two cats sharing canned food
There are mixed opinions on the presence of dyes and preservatives in cat foods. There's no proof that dyes or preservatives are unhealthy for cats, but little has been done to research the effects of these ingredients building up in cats' systems over time. Dyes can stain carpets and upholstery. Premium foods seldom contain dyes, but many supermarket brands do.

The naming of cats’ foods:
  • The 95% Rule
    A cat food may not be labeled "Chicken for Cats," or "Chicken Cat Food," unless it contains 95% or more chicken by total weight of the product.
  • The 25% Rule
    Foods labeled "Chicken entrĂ©e," "Chicken Dinner," "Chicken Feast," or the like, must contain 25% to 95% chicken. “Platter”, “nuggets” and “formula” are also common. Just because the name says “Chicken Formula” does not mean that beef, or fish are not added. The ingredient label is the real key to knowing what your cat is eating. Combinations, such as "Chicken and Beef Dinner" must contain a total of 25% to 95% of the combined meats, listed in order of quantity, and the second meat listed must comprise at least 3% of the total weight. (Imagine ordering a "steak and lobster" dinner and finding the "lobster" will barely fill a fork!)
  • The 3% Rule
    The “with” rule. A food labelled "Kitty Stew with Chicken" must contain 3% or more chicken. This is easily confused with the 95% rule. Turkey cat food has 95% turkey, cat food with turkey has 3% turkey.
  • "Flavor"
    Barely worth mentioning here, but if you see something similar to "chicken flavored," be assured that the product is unlikely to contain any chicken at all, as long as there is a "sufficiently detectable" amount of chicken flavor, usually the result of digests or by-products of the named animal versus actual meat content.

Additional resources for decoding cat food ingredients:
You Are What You Eat, Chemically
Now that we’ve talked in-depth about ingredients, don’t spend too much time trying to decipher that ingredient list. Most food manufacturers approach animal feeds with a chemist’s point of view. The bottom line of nutrition is the chmical component of the food – are the basic amino acids available to make proteins? Is the right blend of vitamins in there? Is the animal going to get an adequate balance of protein, fats and carbohydrates and maintain a good weight on this diet? Is the cat going to actually EAT the food? “Animals require nutrients, not ingredients," says Sherry Sanderson, DVM, PhD, University of Georgia, College of Veterinary Medicine. “You should be most concerned about the nutritional value of the end product, and less concerned about the ingredients that get you there.”

Preservatives in pet foods get a bad name, but they actually serve a very important function in dry pet foods, Sanderson says. Preservatives are antioxidants that prevent the fat in foods from spoiling (becoming rancid). Some fats can spoil very quickly. Once a fat spoils, it loses its nutritional value, not to mention it can become dangerous to eat.

Preservatives may be natural or man-made. Natural preservatives commonly found in cat food include vitamin E (tocopherol) or vitamin C (ascorbic acid). Man-made preservatives are synthetic forms of vitamin E such as butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA).

Some web sites claim BHT and BHA can lead to cancer in pets. But at this time, little research has been done in this field – any suggested link between preservatives at the level found in pet foods and cancer growth is unsubstantiated by scientific peer-reviewed studies. Experts say you should never choose a dry cat food that doesn't contain preservatives, because the risk of feeding a potentially rancid diet far outweighs any perceived risks associated with preservatives.

If you prefer to feed your cat a diet without preservatives, it is recommended to feed preservative-free canned food only.

Natural Is Not Necessarily Organic
There is no standardized official definition for the terms "natural" and "organic" when it comes to pet food. Also, "Organic" and “Natural” are not one and the same. “Organic” refers to the way a food source is grown and processed. The FDA is currently working on developing guidelines for the use of the word "organic" on cat food labels.

"Natural" may mean the product has no artificial flavors or colors – both of which are not necessary in a cat’s food. However, it may indicate that there are no added preservatives, which can lead to spoilage in dry foods. A food that advertises itself as “100% all-natural” may be misleading because most complete and balanced pet foods have vitamins and minerals added to them, most of which are man-made. Few pet foods ever use artificial flavors.

Foods Your Cat Should Never Eat

Rules of Thumb for Feeding Your Cat

    Cat and dog looking at hamburgers
  •  Never feed dog food to your cat in place of cat food. It is deficient in essential nutrients cats require. Cats, unlike dogs, cannot convert certain dietary precursors into necessary amino acids and water soluble vitamins. A cat given dog food over a long period can develop taurine deficiency, vitamin A deficiency (night blindness), niacin deficiency, retinal degeneration, and other serious or fatal illnesses. Cats that nibble from the dog bowl from time to time are usually fine, as long as they get the majority of their nutrition from their cat food.
  • Specialty foods and even table scraps can be given as treats once or twice a week-but only after the regular diet is eaten. Cooked meats (including organ meats such as liver or kidney), cottage cheese, cooked vegetables, cooked fish, milk, and yogurt are foods with strong taste appeal that cats seem to enjoy. Only give them in small amounts and do not offer dairy products if your cat appears to be lactose intolerant (usually evidenced by diarrhea)
  • Never feed meats exclusively.
  • Treats should never exceed 20 percent of a cat’s total daily food.
  • Uncooked meat and raw fish should not be given because of the dangers of vitamin deficiency. Raw fish contains an enzyme that destroys vitamin B1 (thiamin). A deficiency of this vitamin results in brain damage. Fish is also deficient in vitamin E and raw meat in general has the potential to transmit diseases and parasites.
  • Vitamin and mineral supplements are not necessary or desirable if you are feeding a balanced cat food. Cats may actually overdose on vitamins A and D or calcium and phosphorus, either by giving the vitamins directly or by supplementing the diet with products that are high in them (such as raw liver or fish oils). Excess vitamin A causes sterility and loss of hair. Excess calcium, phosphorus, and vitamin D cause metabolic bone and kidney disease.
  • Cats have highly selective eating habits. The location of the food dish, noise, the presence of other animals, and other threats or distractions can adversely affect how much they are willing to eat. A cat in a boarding facility may refuse food for entire week (which can be dangerous) unless an appetite stimulant is given.
  • Most cats prefer to have their food served at room temperature or slightly warm.
  • Many cats will not eat if the food dish is located near the litter box.
  • Water is a very important nutrient for cats. Always have plenty of fresh water available. Some cats like to drink from faucets and pet fountains. Some cats like ice in their water, especially in the summer. Again, canned food diets are more likely to provide an adequate amount of water than are other types of food.
  • Many cats prefer to eat and drink out of dishes that do not contact their whiskers, such as wide dishes or plates versus small, deep bowls.
Additional resources:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

What should I know about Cat Nutrition? Part 2

Let's face it - feeding your cat is one of the most important functions you have as a cat caretaker! Here is some more handy information about feline nutrition.

A can of pet food, showing the label
What information is available on the food label?
Besides the AAFCO statement, all food labels must also include:
1.      Ingredient list by weight, with the heaviest ones first.
2.       The product name and brand name.  
3.       The species name (in this case, cat) this food is designed for.
4.      Size; how much pet food is in this bag or can. This information must be on the lower third of the front of the bag.
5.      Guaranteed analysis of the pet food stated as Crude Protein (minimum), Crude Fat (minimum), Crude Fiber (maximum), and Moisture (maximum).  
6.      The name and address of the food manufacturer or distributor – this must be made available in case of adverse reactions or recalls.
7.      How much to feed: Every cat food label must have recommendations regarding how much to feed cats of different sizes or ages. These guidelines usually overestimate the amount of food a typical cat needs to eat every day. Some people believe that this is a ploy on the part of the pet food manufacturers to sell more food. Others suggest that pet food manufacturers overestimate to make sure that no diet can be accused of causing unhealthy or undesired weight loss in a pet when fed as directed.

The pet food manufacturers that perform feeding trials on their diets maintain that these guidelines are based on calculations of what typical pets in their feeding trials needed to satisfy their energy requirements. Whatever the reason, many pets can safely be fed less than the daily recommendations on the packaging.

Ingredients: Now that we know what nutrients need to be in cat food, how does it get there?
  • Protein from a meat, fish, or poultry source
  • Taurine, an essential amino acid
  • Certain other vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fatty acids
  • Water
A cat looking at stacks of canned diets
That is all cats need. They do not need carbohydrates. In the wild, the only carbohydrates a cat would get in its diet would be the stomach contents of its prey – partially digested grains and seeds, most commonly. Corn, wheat, and/or rice are often used as fillers for dry cat foods. Other ingredients, such as binders, flavoring, and coloring, are added by cat food manufacturers to satisfy the aesthetic wants of the consumer. Although preservatives are necessary, to keep foods fresh for our cats, canned food should not be allowed to remain out for a long period of time. Don’t be fooled into thinking that a food is good for your pet because it lists ingredients such as peas, carrots, cranberries, blueberries and the like. Pets don’t really need these ingredients to thrive, but they make for good marketing to the pet’s human. They can be a source of antioxidants and vitamins, but the amounts are probably not significant enough to make a difference.
Here are some of the most common ingredients:
A gray tabby cat eating kibble
  • Meat: Cleaned flesh from chicken, lamb, turkey, cattle, and related animals that have been slaughtered specifically for animal feed purposes. However, flesh means more than skin. It may include muscle, (including the diaphragm), fat, nerves, blood vessels from the skin, the heart, esophagus, and the tongue.
  • Meat by-product: Clean, non-flesh parts from the same animals mentioned above. This can include the blood, bone, brain, liver, lungs, liver, kidneys, and emptied stomach and intestines. There are no hooves, hair, horns, or teeth in meat byproducts. Chicken by-products are feather-free. This might sound gross, but remember what your cat’s natural diet consists of – there are important nutrients available in organ meat that cats require.
  • Beef tallow: A fat made from beef.
  • Meal: Finely ground tissue.
  • Bone meal: Finely ground bone from slaughtered feed animals.
  • Fish meal: Clean, ground undecomposed whole fish or fish pieces. The fish may or may not still contain fish oil.
  • Ground corn: Chopped or ground corn kernels.
  • Corn gluten meal: A product that forms after corn syrup or starch is made.

Pet food labels are required to list ingredients in decreasing order by weight. This can be confusing when trying to figure out what amounts are really in the food. For example, if a label reads: chicken, ground corn, corn gluten meal and so on, you might be tempted to think that this is a food primarily made of chicken - it IS the first ingredient, after all. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case.

The corn ingredients in the example above have been split into two different ingredients: ground corn and corn gluten meal, which, while two different ingredients, misleadingly allows the chicken to be the first ingredient. This is really a corn-based food with chicken added. Due to the specificity of the ingredient label, different types of cereals and grains must be listed separately, but when combined as overall grain content they will constitute a greater part of the food.

Many pet food labels
What do you think of the ingredients of these popular brands of food? Do you know which brand of food each of these ingredient lists is from? Which one would you choose to feed your cat?

1) Ingredients: ground yellow corn, corn gluten meal, chicken by-product meal, soybean meal, beef tallow (preserved with mixed tocopherols (a form of Vitamin E)), animal digest, calcium carbonate, turkey by-product meal, salmon meal, ocean fish meal, phosphoric acid, choline chloride, salt, potassium chloride, titanium dioxide (color), vitamins (vitamin E supplement, niacin supplement, vitamin A supplement, d-calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate [source of vitamin B1], riboflavin supplement [source of vitamin B2], pyridoxine hydrochloride [source of vitamin B6], menadione sodium bisulfite complex [source of vitamin K activity], vitamin D3 supplement, folic acid, biotin, vitamin B12 supplement), potassium chloride, minerals (ferrous sulfate [source of iron], zinc oxide, manganous oxide, copper sulfate, calcium iodate, sodium selenite), taurine, yellow 5, red 40, yellow 6, yellow 5, red 40, blue 2, dl-methionine, l-lysine, rosemary extract.

2) Ingredients: Chicken meal, corn gluten meal, soybean meal, brewers rice, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), corn meal, chicken, salmon, powdered cellulose, ground whole wheat, soybean hulls, malt extract, brewers dried yeast, phosphoric acid, natural flavor, tetra sodium pyrophosphate, calcium carbonate, salt, choline chloride, dried spinach, parsley flakes, potassium chloride, taurine, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, ferrous sulfate, niacin, manganese sulfate, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, copper sulfate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, calcium iodate, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), sodium selenite.

3) Ingredients: Chicken, chicken meal, whole brown rice, soybean meal, whole barley, whole oat meal, soy protein isolate, animal fat preserved with mixed-tocopherols (form of Vitamin E), brewers dried yeast, dried egg product, natural flavor, dried beet pulp, fish oil, phosphoric acid, caramel color, dried carrots, salt, dried sweet potatoes, dried apples, calcium carbonate, potassium chloride, taurine, choline chloride, Vitamin E supplement, zinc sulfate, niacin, ferrous sulfate, manganese sulfate, Vitamin A supplement, calcium pantothenate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin supplement, Vitamin B-12 supplement, copper sulfate, pyridoxine hydrochloride, folic acid, Vitamin D-3 supplement, biotin, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), calcium iodate, sodium selenite.

4) Ingredients: Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Animal Fat (preserved mixed tocopherols and citric acid), Powdered Cellulose, Whole Grain Corn, Lactic Acid, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, Calcium Carbonate, DL-Methionine, Iodized Salt, Vitamin E Supplement, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Taurine, Calcium Sulfate, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, Phosphoric Acid, Beta Carotene, Rosemary Extract.

5) Ingredients: Turkey, Chicken Meal, Chicken, Herring Meal, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols a Natural Source of Vitamin E), Peas, Eggs, Turkey Meal, Pea Fiber, Natural Flavors, Apples, Carrots, Cranberries, Herring Oil, Tomatoes, Pumpkin, Dried Chicory Root, Cottage Cheese, Alfalfa Sprouts, Taurine, DL-Methionine, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Betaine Hydrochloride, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Beta Carotene, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid), Direct Fed Microbials (Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product)

6) Ingredients: Chicken Deboned, Chicken Meal, Potato Dehydrated, Turkey Meal, Chicken Fat (preserved with mixed tocopherols – a source of Natural Vitamin E), Sweet Potato Dehydrated, Dried Egg, Natural Flavor, Yeast Culture, Dicalcium Phosphate, Lysine, Sea Salt, Alfalfa, Salmon Oil, Choline Chloride, Acai Berry Freeze-Dried, Blueberry Dried, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Rosemary Extract, Taurine, Zinc Amino Acid Complex, Chondroitin Sulfate, Glucosamine Hydrochloride, Chicory Root, Marigold Extract, Lactobacillus Plantarum, Enterococcus Faecium, Lactobacillus Casei, Lactobacillus Acidophilus, Iron Amino Acid Complex, Vitamin E Supplement, Manganese Amino Acid Complex, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Copper Amino Acid Complex, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin D3, Niacin, Lecithin, Riboflavin Supplement, Biotin, Ethylenediamine Dihydriodide, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Cobalt, Amino Acid Complex, Folic Acid, Thiamine Mononitrate, Sodium Selenite.

7) Ingredients: Ocean fish, fish broth, shrimp, calcium phosphate, vegetable oil, guar gum, Vitamin E supplement, Vitamin A supplement, sodium nitrite (to promote color retention), zinc sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, manganese sulfate, menadione sodium bisulfite complex (source of Vitamin K activity), riboflavin supplement, folic acid, pyridoxine hydrochloride, Vitamin D-3 supplement.