Nutrition and the Litterbox

Did you know that what you feed your cat directly affects how messy the litterbox chores will be? I’m not trying to be sardonic here. Truly! =-)

What pet owners often forget in the often uneven pursuit of vegan living is that cats are carnivores; cats eat meat. Cats evolved to eat, not only meat, but raw meat that that and their bodies process it much better than all the vegetables and grains that we try to stuff in them. I think the video I’m posting here shows exactly this point better than anything I could say about it. Watch.

What did you think? Huge difference, right? This video was made by the Feline Nutrition Foundation, a non-profit organization commited to animal welfare and health. They didn’t pay me to post it and they don’t sell cat food. They do what is healthy and natural for animals so they may live as close to the life their creator designed for them to live.

Now there are several ways to approach this. You can try a web search for how to feed a raw diet to your cat and you will get all sorts of techniques, recipes and approaches. Much of the information contradicts itself. Refuse to get overwhelmed. Once you understand that kibble or any form of dry food is horrible for your cat and that the over-processed can food at the grocery store is only one step removed, you will want to take action. Go easy on yourself. Try this:

  1. Buy fresh hormone free chicken thighs or rabbit meat at your local Fresh Market or Whole Foods. If you eat fresh foods yourself, like I do, and you have five cats to feed, again, like I do, you will be going there 2 to 3 times a week anyway.
  2. Don’t get crazy about it. Wash the fresh meat off really well and pat dry. I cut it off the bone but I don’t bother grinding it up. A cat in the wild has to use its teeth, no one grinds it up! And don’t bother cooking it. If you do, then it is no longer raw, is it?
  3. If that seems like it’s too expensive or time consuming, buy an over-the-counter brand of raw food. Your local pet store will have them in the refrigerator section.
  4. Some people buy fresh meat and then freeze some of it. They simply bring it to room temperature in a sink of water and feed it as soon as it is no longer cold before bacteria can begin to proliferate.

There is no reason to get uptight about this. We’ve just been programed into thinking that cats should eat like we do. If you are still not sure, by all means, consult with your vet. At least, give it a raw food diet a try. You will probably see a marked difference in your cat’s health, alertness, happiness and bowel movements. You will definitely smell a difference!

What’s to be had and what it costs

So you want to set up a pet cam and you don’t want to get too complicated with it. There are a couple good, pretty quick options. It sort of depends how involved you can get and how much money you want to spend.

Nest is a remote camera system that involves very simple set-up and is operated by your phone. You can mount it on the wall, a table top or shelf, the refrigerator door (like a magnet) and just plug it in. You can sync it to your Nest thermostat so that it automatically comes on whenever you leave the house. You can talk to your pet through the device as well. It costs $199.

This YouTube video review does a good job of showing you the basic set-up. For the ease of it, the Nest cam is probably the most reliable and easiest to set up.

The Petcube is similar to the Nest cam and costs exactly the same. It is a cube shape and it can be set on a flat surface or mounted to a tripod. It also has two-way communication capability and connects to your home wi-fi.

Pawbo, a new system out of Taipei and Petzi cam are two systems that are cameras and treat dispensers. Pawbo also gives you the capability of laser play with your kitty especially great if you are gone for long periods of time. These both cost a bit less and can probably be purchased for $120 – $160.

Motorola, Samsung, Petvidence, I C Pooch and Izon all have camera systems that work pretty well. The costs vary and you should check around on Ebay for used ones and Amazon for brand new. Also, don’t forget that many home security systems come with cameras. If you already have a system, contact the company about adding several cameras at a level where you can watch your pets while your away. Each company will have different specs for their systems and some may not allow 2-way communication.

Other options would be using a GoPro camera that you operate remotely with your phone, or using Skype on your laptop. If you are comfortable setting things up for yourself and you already own these items there are tutorials online to help you do this.

Litterbox Cams

Pet cams are big business. People have to go to work, they must leave the house. Unlike dog owners, cat owners don’t take their cats out with them to shop or get a coffee. When a cat person is away from home, she likes to be able to monitor her pet. Cams reveal that all sorts of things go on.

These video captures have spawned an entire group of potential marketers who create a website and post videos of cute kitten antics (or creepy litterbox scenes…who wants to see that?) that other cat owners can’t seem to get enough of. They then monetize the websites and try to make a living selling cat toys, food and…litterboxes. It seems to work.

Although I have five cats, you won’t see cute pictures of them here. I value their and my own privacy. My goal is to provide useful and meaningful information.

And, yes, I will probably post a cute kitten video from time to time.