Is free feeding your cat the best option?

Free feeding cats is a very common practice in many households, but just because it is common does not mean it is the best option.

Indoor Cats are typically not Highly Active

Typical indoor cats are not considered “highly active,” rather they are more often a moderate or low activity level. Living indoors simply does not provide the space or stimulation that cats are adapted to. In an environment that lacks stimulation, cats will often eat when there is nothing else to occupy them. Free feeding makes it easy for indoor cats to consume more calories than they are expending, leading to weight gain and possible obesity.

Cats are not natural Grazers

When food is always available, you may see your cat eating at a variety of times throughout the day. Although it seems like your cat is grazing all day, picking out just a few kibbles here and there, in reality they are eating meals. Having a full bowl of food available 24 hours a day allows cats to eat many full meals in a day, often more meals than they should based on their energy expenditure.

Food Intake is an important Indicator of Health

Cats are very stoic and often do not present signs of illness that are obvious to us. A loss of appetite or reduced food intake can be a helpful early indicator of disease. Early detection of illness increases the chance of successful treatment. When cats are free-fed, it can be difficult to see when consumption has declined.

Cats prefer Fresh Food

When we set food out in a bowl, the oxygen in the air begins to degrade (oxidize) the fat in the diet. Cats are very sensitive to oxidized fat; even a slight breakdown in the structures decreases palatability, leading to a less enjoyable eating experience for cats.

Weight management relies on proper Measurement

When free fed cats begin to gain excess weight, creating a weight loss plan can be tough because it is difficult to know how many calories the cat has been consuming each day making it a challenge to restrict calories. When weight management diets (lower calorie diets) are free fed, cats will typically consume a higher volume of food, resulting in minimal, if any, calorie reduction.

Tips for transitioning to Meal Feeding

When cats are accustomed to having food always available, they end up on their own schedule which might not align with yours.

Measure out half of the day’s food and set it out in the morning, allowing the cat to eat on their own schedule. In the evening, serve the other half of the day’s food.

Adding canned food to the meal can encourage consumption right away and your cat will get use to the new schedule.

Engaging in play stimulates feline appetite, so spend some time interacting with your cat prior to meal time.

Meal feeding promotes Health

Feeding meals instead of free feeding can increase your cat’s health and prevent things such as obesity, which is a precursor for many feline diseases. Feed your cat fresh, appropriately sized meals to enhance their enjoyment and health.

Litter Box Woes: 3 ways a higher quality diet can help!

We love our cats, but we don’t love the litter box.

There are a few different ways our litter box griefs can be resolved such as choosing the right type of litter or locating the box in the optimum place in the house. Another very effective solution is choosing a high-quality food.

Here are 3 ways switching to a higher quality diet can solve your litter woes.

1. Reduce Volume and Cost of Litter and Supplies

High quality diets are very digestible and result in less waste in the litter box. This reduces the volume of litter used and keeps the litter box cleaner for longer. Quality, digestible ingredients can lead to better stool consistency, making clean-up simple and easy, with less litter removal with each scoop. When using poop bags for disposal of litter and waste, you will also obviously also use less of these when disposing of less waste.

2. Reduce Litter Odour

High quality diets support optimal gut health with highly digestible ingredients as well as prebiotics and sometimes probiotics. Improved gut health can limit the offensive odour of the stool.

Some higher quality diets also include ingredients that work specifically to reduce litter box odour. Yucca Schidigera extract is an ingredient that supports the growth and function of beneficial gut bacteria for enhanced microbial fermentation, more complete digestion, less waste and less odour.

Other gut health support ingredients to look for are: chicory root, pumpkin, spinach, cinnamon, kelp, milk thistle, probiotics and digestive enzymes, among others.

3. Prevent Urinary Crystals

Urine crystals are a painful litter box issue for cats so urinary support is very important. Often, urine pH for cats is too alkaline; a more natural pH is slightly acidic. High quality diets contain high proportions of meat which keeps urine pH at the proper level. Diets also may contain support ingredients that acidify urine to prevent crystals. Cranberry and DL-methionine are examples of this type of support ingredient.

Bonus Tip!

Your cat’s drinking source can also play a part in urinary health. Many tap water sources are slightly alkaline and contain a variety of dissolved minerals, that may end up forming crystals in the urinary tract.

Cat Water is a bottled water source designed specifically for cats, with urinary health in mind. Cat Water is distilled water with virtually no dissolved minerals and an ideal pH of 6.2-6.4. This water source limits mineral intake and helps keep urine pH at the perfect, slightly acidic level. The slight acidity of this water is also more appealing to cats than more alkaline sources, which will encourage cats to drink more water. Increased water consumption is a great prevention for crystal formation.

Cat Water is now available at Global Pet Foods!

 

Spring Preparation for Pet Parents

Although it may not look like it, it is officially spring. We are at the beginning of the season filled with fun activities, outdoor adventures, and rain and mud and lots of clean-up to do!

Cleaning Up the Yard

When the snow melts, it often reveals a mine-field of poop in the yard, and unless you want it all over your dog, your shoes and your house, you need to get out there and clean it up. The best way to dispose of dog poop is to bag it and dispose of it either in the garbage or compost (if your city allows that). With so much to pick up all at once, I’m sure we all want to make the smallest environmental impact possible by using poop bags that will break down, or that we can throw in the compost. Earth Rated original poop bags are available unscented or with a pleasant lavender smell and will biodegrade in a landfill in 24 months. Also available are the Earth Rated compostable poop bags that are made with 100% corn and are very durable despite the thin eco-friendly material. The Canadian company operates a zero-waste factory where there are no scraps – all bag scraps are reworked into production. Earth Rated gives us the best of all worlds with environmentally friendly products that are tough enough to stay between fingers and feces.

Dealing with Dirty Pets

Even after all the waste is picked up out of the yard, it’s still a mess! Mud is inescapable this time of year, so we are left just having to deal with it. We’ve all done the baseball catcher stance, towel in hand, trying to grab hold of our dogs or cats as they run in from the yard, soaked up to their bellies in dirt. The mud saturates their fur, gets in between their toes and they are most impatient with us as we wipe, rub and pick at them in the doorway. There must be a better way! As it turns out, there is a better way. Let’s be real, it’s never going to be easy or fun but it can be much less frustrating if we just have the right tools. Your everyday hand towel or even bath towel is no match for our messy mutts. Thankfully, Messy Mutts really gets it and has created products that put up a good fight against dirty dogs and crusty cats. Arm yourself with microfiber matts, mitts and towels that hold 7 times their weight in water, and then you’ll have a chance at winning the fight against filth.

For scrubbing betwixt the toes, a towel or mitt is not your best tool – for this you need the Dexas Petware MudBuster dog paw cleaner – add a bit of water and the soft silicone bristles gently and effectively scrub all the nooks and crannies of your dog’s feet. The clean paw then just needs to be dried off with a towel and your floors are saved.

Going on Adventures

Although there are obvious struggles that come with spring, it really is an exciting time of year. We are all itching to get out and do things, and now we finally can! We can shed our parkas, double layered gloves and heavy insulated boots. We can go on adventures and do activities, any excuse to be out in the fresh spring air. Your dog will love to go out in the yard or down to the park to play with all the new interactive toys you will bring home from your next visit to Global Pet Foods! Balls and frisbees for fetch, ropes for tugging and floating toys for swimming; plus, all the gear you need for your escapades – leashes, collars and harnesses, treat pouches and poop bag dispensers.

Taking on New Challenges

Maybe this spring you and your pet are taking on new challenges. Perhaps you signed up for agility or rally obedience classes or have decided to teach your cat how to skateboard! A new training challenge calls for tasty training rewards. There are all kinds of soft and chewy treats at Global Pet Foods that have a taste and texture that is super motivating and they are easy to chew and consume so they won’t distract too long from the task at hand. Find the perfect training treat for your pet and feel confident that they are healthy and nutritious!

Finding Time to Relax

If your style is more relaxed and you just want to spend time outside enjoying the fresh spring air with your pet, hanging out in the yard, you can find everything you need at Global Pet Foods. Pick up a tie out harness for your exploratory cat, or a cot for your tranquil dog. Toys and treats for chewing help your pet relax and relieve stress.

No matter what you like to do with your pet, this spring you can find all the essentials at Global Pet Foods.

#GPFlovesFromm

Have you heard?  Fromm Family Pet Foods has some exciting news about their new Crunchy O’s dog treats & expanded food lines!

Who is Fromm Family Pet Foods?  Since 1904, Fromm Family Pet Foods has maintained a tradition of quiet innovation dedicated to the health & nutrition of pets.  Food safety is their top priority – part of their commitment to all pet parents is their dedication to producing high quality, safe, and consistent pet foods.  They own and operate two dry food and treat manufacturing facilities as well as a wet food cannery in Wisconsin.  They manage every aspect of the process including sanitation & facility maintenance all the way to the lab analysis & formula blending.  They take a long-term approach to their business model to ensure you can rely on products made by their family for your furry family.

Some of their newest innovations include:

Many of our customers’ dogs & cats absolutely love Fromm’s products!  With such a wide variety available to choose from, there’s something available for every pet’s specific need.

Global Pet Foods proudly carries a wide variety of the Fromm Family Pet Foods lines in many of our stores.  Contact your local store here to inquire about product selection & availability.

Why do our Pets Bring Joy?

With over 160 Global Pet Foods stores across Canada, we see firsthand as to just how much joy pets bring to our customers (and to us!).

 

From the way that people pick out the “right” bed for their dog, a new toy for the cat, or ask the common question of our Healthy Pet Care Specialists, “Is this the best food for my pet?”, we know that our customers want the best for their pets.  And we are more than happy to help because we want the best for your pets too.

 

We love to see the joy your pets bring you.  It’s one of the key reasons why we love what we do.

The bond between people and their pets is really unlike no other bond.  Yes, children bring their parents and extended family joy too.  But children grow up and, in most cases, lead independent lives, whereas our pets depend on us for their entire lifetime.  We are their sole providers and caregivers.

 

There’s no question of the tremendous pain that people go through when their pets are ill or have passed over the “Rainbow Bridge”.  It is the same pain akin to losing a spouse or a child.  For most people, they cannot imagine their lives without their pets.  Our pets bring joy to our lives.

But how? And why?

Our pets do not discriminate.  Our gender, race, appearance, wealth (or lack thereof), where we live, what we do, or how we dress means absolutely nothing to our pets.  They just love us – plain and simple – unconditionally.  Unconditional love is very difficult to find in humans.

 

Our pets are forgiving.  There is rarely a conflict among packs of animals.  They solve their problems and move on.  They don’t hold grudges or worry about what happened yesterday.  Yes, dogs and cats may have excellent memories, but veterinarian and animal behaviourist,

Alexandra Horowtiz states that the cerebral cortex in a dog’s brain, the part responsible for higher-order though functions and language, is not sufficiently developed to support human-like conceptual thinking.  The same anatomical feature which makes our dogs incapable of feeling guilt also allows them to forgive easily because they don’t have the framework of language to help them structure and retrieve memories in any detail.

 

Our pets teach us to live for today.  As humans, we wish for things that we don’t have, or spend time regretting what we have done or not done.  We spend a lot of time worrying, don’t we?  Our pets?  They live for today!  Every day is a new day and they simply live it and they love living it with us, whether it’s curled up beside us or sitting on our laps, or going for a walk.  What a great world it would be if we lived like our pets!

There isn’t a better feeling than when we come home and our pets are so excited to see us.  Our pets greet us every day as if we have been away for days or years.  It’s a great feeling, isn’t it?

 

Watching our fish tank at night relaxes us.  Petting our ferret, rabbit, hamster, lizard, puppy or dog, kitten or cat, calms us.

Our pets love us unconditionally.  And that brings us joy.

All you Need is Love…and a Cat!

While many cats are “house” cats, they still require some special attention during the summer months in order to keep them healthy, safe and content. Visit your Global Pet Foods store for product recommendations and more tips.

 

Water, water, everywhere!

Your cat needs to drink lots of water when the temperature heats up. Please ensure that there’s always fresh water available in several different shaded spots throughout your home, and on your porch or in the backyard if your cat spends time outdoors.

 

If your home is not air-conditioned, and you’re away during the day, freeze a plastic dish of water overnight, and put it out in the morning, in addition to the regular water dish.  This way, your cat will have a continual source of cool water throughout the day. A water fountain with an add-on reservoir is a great alternative to a water bowl and it does a better job of providing your cat with a constant source of fresh water.

 

It’s extremely important to keep senior cats hydrated as they tend to have compromised kidney and thyroid functions. Since they tend to nap a lot, this means they’re not eating or drinking as often as they should. Ensure that you or someone in your household encourages them to drink and eat a few times through the day.

 

On really hot days, wipe your cat down with a cool washcloth or towel, especially if your home is not air-conditioned.

 

Cool place to rest:

Make sure that your cat has access to areas with tile floors or rooms that don’t get much sun. Cats will naturally gravitate to the most comfortable sleeping area that they can find and a bed that’s comfortably cool can really hit the spot. Make a “cooling” bed by placing a packet of frozen peas under a blanket or your cat’s bed cover.  Your cat will enjoy this cool spot.

 

Grooming:

Shedding is considered a sign of health in cats, and your cat will shed to remove dead hair from her body.  Since dead hair can cause skin irritation, it needs to be removed.  It’s also important to ensure that your cat’s fur does not mat since matted fur traps in heat, which can cause her great discomfort in the summer.  Grooming your cat daily will help to prevent fur from becoming matted and also allows air to flow freely through it, keeping her cool in the summer months. This is very important for long-haired cats.  Regular grooming of your cat is also key to the prevention of hairballs. Signs of a major hairball problem and possible impaction are: retching, inability to poop, diarrhea, loss of appetite, or a swollen abdomen.

See your veterinarian immediately if you suspect your cat is impacted.

Playtime and exercise:

Cats need daily play and exercise. If your home is not air-conditioned, their exercise time should take place during the cooler hours of the day, early morning and evening. This is especially important for young kittens and seniors, both of whom are very vulnerable to heatstroke.  Please be sure to give your cats time to digest their food before you engage them in exercise.

 

Avoid heatstroke:

Keep tabs on your cats during the hot weather and monitor them for signs of heatstroke. Heatstroke is life-threatening, and learning proper first aid can save your cat’s life.  The symptoms of heatstroke in cats can include:

 

If you suspect that your cat is a victim of heatstroke, take her temperature. It should be between 100.5 and 101.5 F. A temperature above 104 is a definite warning sign of hyperthermia.  If you believe that your cat is suffering from heat stroke, you must quickly take steps to cool her down. Move her to a cool area immediately and try to lower the temperature by wetting towels with cool or lukewarm water, and wipe her down.  Then increase air movement around her with a fan (low setting). You need to take your cat to a veterinarian right away.

 

NOTE: Using very cold water can actually be counterproductive. Cooling your cat too quickly, which may result in lowering his body temperature too low can cause other life-threatening medical conditions. Allow your cat free access to cool water but don`t force feed your cat, as they may inhale it and choke.  Snub-nosed breeds (like Persians and Himalayans) are especially vulnerable to heat stroke.

Natural Probiotics to the Rescue

Recently, many pet foods manufacturers are promoting the probiotics in their pet food, which is more commonly found in dog food. While we certainly support the use of probiotics in pet food, we recommend that you give your pet a probiotic supplement instead. Probiotics are sensitive to moisture and heat so if they’re added to pet food (especially kibble) they will have little effect by the time they make it into your pet’s digestive tract.  The bacteria in a probiotic must be live and be able to reproduce in order to provide your pet with any health benefit.

 

Probiotics can be used for the following:

First of all, what are probiotics, anyway? Everyone knows they help optimize our gut flora (the bacteria occurring naturally in the intestine), but really, what are these things? Where do they come from?

 

Probiotics are living microbes which have a beneficial effect on the host animal by contributing to its intestinal microbial balance. Acidophilus and bifidobacteria are the most common types of microbes used as probiotics, but there are over 30,000 species of microbes that interact to maintain a healthy intestinal environment! Probiotics tip the balance in the gut toward friendly bacteria and away from pathogenic bacteria which can cause gas, bloating, pain, diarrhea, skin and coat problems and other illness. They’re great for helping dogs and cats recover from most digestive disturbances, both chronic and acute.

 

Although there are lots of commercial products on the market in pill and liquid form for high retail prices, probiotics are naturally found in foods such as fermented vegetables (sauerkraut, and kimchee) and sprouted seeds, for example. These are proven to be, by far, much more effective than the lab-made strains available in bottles.

 

Why? Because science cannot imitate the naturally complex relationships of all of the species of microbes that interact in the gut to maintain a healthy intestinal environment. Neither has science yet discovered all the ways the body interacts with each of these species to produce the beneficial effect. But most importantly, recent research shows that if the probiotic microorganisms are allowed to establish their own symbiotic environment prior to being ingested by the host body, they are ‘hardier’, more able to re-establish their dominance, more able to withstand the heat and acid environment of the gut.

 

And finally, commercial probiotics are created by isolating individual strains of microorganisms which are then artificially stimulated to reproduce in a laboratory. In the final product, the selected probiotics have been separated from their intrinsic supporting microbes that were present in the original natural state. These supporting microbes are critical to the survival of the selected strain, so the absorption and use of the finished probiotic by the body will be greatly and significantly reduced.

 

This means that when a native probiotic found in food is ingested while still in its natural host environment it remains supported by the full range of original microorganisms that allow it to function. It will stay healthy, viable and be much more bio-available for absorption within the animal’s intestine. Now that’s something to toot about!

Keeping your cat Safe & Healthy

Sharing your life with a cat is a rewarding and enriching experience. Cats have so much to offer including love and companionship. Some people view cats as being aloof and not needing a lot of attention.  But just like dogs, there is great responsibility in caring for a cat’s physical and emotional wellbeing. Cats will get sick from time to time, but there are ways to reduce the chances of this happening.

Below are some suggestions.

Other common dangers include: poisons, hot stoves, toilets, washing machines and tumble dryers, string, ribbon, electrical cords and more.  You should know where your cats are at all times if they are at risk to be injured.

Keep Your Cat Healthy

Cats are fascinating animals. They are fun, loving and intuitive, but they can also be temperamental and unpredictable.

 

A bored cat may become destructive and aggressive, and result in excessive grooming or inappropriate litter box use, ie. urinate in other areas of your home.

 

Caring for a cat is a big responsibility as it’s difficult to keep them healthy in the same manner as dogs, who head outside for walks every day.  Many pet parents keep their cats indoors for safety reasons (it helps to reduce death, injury and disease), which can pose other health risks for them if they’re not receiving enough physical and mental stimulation.

 

Cats need more than just the basic – food, water, litter pan.  While your cat may do a great deal of sleeping it`s critical that you provide regular mental stimulation and exercise, which will enhance their living environment and help them live a happy and healthy life.

 

The onus is on you, and/or other members of your family, to help indoor cats keep their minds alert and sharp.  Failure to do so may cause your cat physical and emotional stress which in turn can lead to physical health issues.

 

Keep your cat active by creating a stimulating environment with these tips below:

 

And finally, the greatest stimulation that you can provide your cat is simply spending time with them each and every day.  This special time will improve your cat’s quality of life.  Research shows that spending 30 minutes of quality time with a cat can calm your nerves and boost your mood. Time spent with a cat can increase your body’s production of serotonin, a chemical that boosts feelings of well-being, and decrease your cortisol levels.  Like high pressure, cortisol is caused by stress which may lead to high cholesterol and hypertension. Not only will the quality time spent with your cat keep you healthier, but your cat will  benefit greatly from the time spent with you too!

High-Rise Syndrome

Many pet parents live in condos and apartment buildings and for those of us without the luxury of air conditioning, we rely on open windows and balcony doors to help keep us cool during the hot summer nights.  You may, however, be putting your pets at risk.  Unscreened windows and doors pose a real danger to dogs and, more often, cats, as they can fall out of them.  There is a term that has been recently associated with this: High-Rise Syndrome.  It’s more common than you think.  Veterinarians see cases on a weekly basis whereby the family pets have fallen from an open window or from the balcony.   Falls can result in shattered jaws, punctured lungs, broken limbs and pelvises, and even death.

 

Cats have excellent survival instincts, and they don’t deliberately “jump” from high places that would be dangerous.  Cats have an incredible ability to focus their attention on whatever interests them.  However, they can become so distracted by a bird or another animal that they lose their balance and fall.  And that’s where the “High-Rise Syndrome” applies – when cats fall accidentally from high-rise windows, terraces or fire escapes.

 

  1. People often assume that cats can take care of themselves since they seem to have little fear of heights and enjoy perching in high places. However, even though cats can cling to the bark of trees with their claws, it`s much more difficult for them to cling to surfaces like window ledges, concrete or brick.

 

  1. Cats don’t land squarely on their feet when they fall from a high place. They land with their feet slightly splayed apart, which can cause severe head and pelvis injuries.

 

  1. It’s a misconception that cats can’t be injured when they fall from one- or two-story buildings. Cats may actually be at greater risk for injury when falling a shorter distance than falling a longer distance. Shorter distances do not give them enough time to adjust their body posture to fall

 

  1. When cats fall from high-rise buildings, they may end up on sidewalks or streets that are dangerous and unfamiliar to them. Never assume that the animal has not survived the fall; immediately rush the animal to the nearest animal hospital or to your veterinarian. There is a 90% survival rate for cats who are high-rise victims if they receive immediate and proper medical attention.

 

High-Rise Syndrome is 100-Percent Preventable.  We recommend that you do the following to keep your pets safe this summer:

 

  1. Install snug and sturdy screens in all of your windows.

 

  1. Make sure that adjustable screens are tightly wedged into window frames.

 

  1. Cats can slip through childproof window guards so please do not assume that they provide adequate protection.

 

And finally, if you have a cat (or multiple cats) you may want to keep them indoors to protect them from additional dangers such as cars, other animals and disease.  Purchase full-screen enclosures for backyards and terraces if you want to provide your cats with outdoor stimulation.

Always know where your pets are in the house when you’re home.  Just as you would do when you have children in your home, know where your pets are at all times so that you can keep them safe.