The Chronicles of Sensi the Cat

Twelve years ago this Mother’s Day a grey little fur ball whose life would be forever entwined with mine, was born. I guess I should start at the beginning though. I was 18 years old and enjoying my youth. I was in no place to take on ANY responsibility. I worked as a ticket checker team leader at a local ski resort and was enjoying the snowboarder bum life style. One of my co-workers had been kicked out of her house and was living out of her car with two Russian Blues in the dead of winter. I couldn’t stand seeing the cats huddled up together for warmth, peering out her rear window while she was on the hill at work. So when she asked me if I could watch them for a few days I couldn’t refuse.

The momma and the poppa, Corona and Sadel.

The momma and the poppa, Corona and Sadel.

She promised to bring by food and kitty litter for their stay. I told her it was only for a very short time because we lived in an apartment with a strict NO PETS policy. She assured me it would not be long. Several weeks went by and while I saw her at work often she would say, “Just another day or two…” By this time I had already picked up kitty litter and food from the store. She stopped by once a while later when we were having a party and dropped off a can of wet cat food. I want to say at least a several more weeks if not a month or two went by with the same excuses and lack of food or even care of the cats from my co-worker. So, when she finally said, “mmkay, I want those cats back”. I told her, “no way in hell.” I couldn’t in good conscience give them to someone who wouldn’t take care of them. I told her that if she had actually cared for the cats she would have at least given me some food or money for the food I was providing for them. So, I suddenly had two very young cats.

IMAG1946Did you know that cats can start having babies around 4 months of age? Before you could say Jack Robinson, I had seven cats living in a two bedroom apartment that didn’t allow pets, living with three young, irresponsible (and messy) party girls and cockroaches that scattered to the filthy recesses and trash piles when you switched on the lights. Hey, don’t judge! When the kittens were old enough we found homes for the puffy balls of fur. The very last guy to go was the grey male I mentioned in the very first sentence of this post. He was adopted by my boyfriend at the time, Dave. He would name the little Russian Blue, Sensi.

After about a year, Dave would decide to make the move back to his home town in Florida. He drove across country but having a very small car and a very big pit bull as well he could not take Sensi with him this trip. He asked me to watch him for a short period and just like Sensi’s mom and dad, Dave basically forgot about him. He then asked me to keep him. In no place to keep yet another cat, I told Dave I would try to re-home him. My room mate at the time had a friend who was interested immediately but while I was at work he showed up to take Sensi home. However, he took the wrong cat. Instead he left with Sensi’s mom who looked almost identical, Corona. When I arrived home from work, I panicked! Corona was a very sensitive soul and my room mate’s friend had suddenly disappeared of the face of the earth. It took us nearly a week to track him down and by the time he brought sweet Corona home they were both so ridiculously attached to one another I could not break them apart. So, Sensi again became my cat.

IMAG1941Nearly ten years go by and I find myself in a situation where I need to find a place for Sensi to stay for a month or two. My sister’s boy friend at the time, Jake stepped up to the plate. However, circumstances changed and 2 months turned into 2 years. This ended up being a very wonderful thing for Sens. He had always been a very skiddish cat with very low confidence. The boys who lived in Jake’s house built up his confidence and now he is a very well balanced cat.

You’re probably wondering why I even bothered telling you this story on a blog about feeding dogs a RAW food diet. Well, because about a week and a half ago I received a call from one if the guys who had become Sensi’s caretaker. They were all moving out. After much discussion it was decide that Sens would be happier living with me again even with all the dogs. So, now I have a cat again. My beautiful cloudy, Indy Sens. I thought, why should the dogs be the only animals in the house eating the way nature intended? We know I don’t. I mean a Mountain Dew a morning isn’t really what nature intended. But hey, I’m an addict , ok? Again, don’t judge!

Sensi adjusting to the new house

Sensi adjusting to the new house

So in my research I have come to the conclusion that cats are easier when it comes to RAW on the one hand and on the other, they are harder. Let me explain. I think feeding Sensi raw will be easier in that cats don’t really need the vegetable matter and stuff. They require a lot less variety. Cats unlike dogs are pure carnivores. They eat all meat. They even get most of their water/moisture from their meals. It’s sounding to me like I won’t have to worry as much about the different components. I want to keep going on this but it really is another post in itself. So, I think you’ll have to wait until I can write a “Why feed your cat RAW?” post. Just know that after that long story, what I am going to start doing is slowly making the transition from the bag marked only “cat food” with a healthy, raw species specific diet for the “new” addition to my pack. I hope to chronicle the adventures of feeding a cat raw and will be posting about it on here. So keep an eye out for new posts on RAW CAT EATS!

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Give Your Dog a Bone – Doggy Dental Health.

Lola & Buster enjoying their bones.

Lola & Buster enjoying their bones.

So I planned to write a nice post on the benefits of raw bones for your dogs teeth for the month of February. February is National Canine Dental Health Month. But here it is the 1st of April. Many people think that bones need to be cooked. This is NOT the case for dogs! In fact, cooked bones can often be very dangerous for dogs. They can splinter and cause tears in their intestinal lining. So when feeding bones make sure they are raw! And yes, you can feed your dog chicken bones, IF THEY ARE RAW! Bones such as rib, spine and neck bones are wonderful for your pooches health and contribute the the 10% bone ratio suggested for a healthy RAW diet.

Recreational bones such as knuckle and marrow bones do not count as the 10% bone in their diet. These bones are meant more for recreation and gnawing rather than as food. This is because they are too dense for your dog to eat. Feeding your dog one recreational bone a week however, is like the equivalent of you brushing your teeth twice a day for a week.

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Nakia’s teeth. Never had a professional cleaning and haven’t been brush since she was a little puppy. BTW she will be 7 in July!

Nakia has never had her teeth cleaned and I don’t brush them…I personally HATE brushing my dog’s teeth. That and vacuuming. Such a pain in the butt. Our vet is always impressed by Nakia’s pearly whites and says she has teeth like a one year old pup. It has also helped clean up Rosie’s teeth quite a bit. When I first started fostering her she had one of the things Chihuahuas are notorious for. No, not yipping…OK, yes there is yipping but I’m talking about really bad teeth. Through weekly bones and her new raw diet her teeth are looking loads better.

Rose inspecting the new box from Meiers.

Rose inspecting the new box from Meiers.

My favorite place to get recreational bones for the dogs is Clay Meier Game Processing in Draper, Utah. They sell 10 pound boxes of free range deer and elk leg bones for only $10! They also sell meaty bones boxed in 40 pound boxes for $80. You can also pick up beef marrow bones from your local butcher. They are fairly inexpensive too.

So, go on, give your dog a bone!

Rose and Nakia enjoying their raw deer and elk bones

Rose and Nakia enjoying their raw deer and elk bones

Cindy Lou going to town on her bone

Cindy Lou going to town on her bone

Berry Veggy Puree Hearts

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With spring in the air, cravings for fresh fruits and veggies enter my mind. I get excited for the garden and part of that excitment leads me to my local grocery stores produce aisle. The dogs benefit from my trips just as much as I do. The result are purees like my most recent Berry Veggy Puree Hearts. I’m moving further away from dried fruits and frozen veggies that make up the majority of my produce intake in the winter.
I am still weening myself away from convenience food. It’s a slow process. Humans are creatures of habit and my habit is bad.

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For the Berry Veggy Puree Hearts I used:
5 fresh strawberries
1 1/2 cups blackberries
1 package butternut squash, precut into cubes.
1 package green beans
2 handfuls Trader Joe’s frozen kale
1 big handful spinach
1 fresh champagne mango, which I peeled and removed the core

Berry Veggy Puree Hearts

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With spring in the air, cravings for fresh fruits and veggies enter my mind. I get excited for the garden and part of that excitment leads me to my local grocery stores produce aisle. The dogs benefit from my trips just as much as I do. The result are purees like my most recent Berry Veggy Puree Hearts. I’m moving further away from dried fruits and frozen veggies that make up the majority of my produce intake in the winter. I am still weening myself away from convenience food. It’s a slow process. Humans are creatures of habit and my habit is bad.

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For the Berry Veggy Puree Hearts I used: 5 fresh strawberries 1 1/2 cups blackberries 1 package butternut squash, precut into cubes. 1 package green beans 2 handfuls Trader Joe’s frozen kale 1 big handful spinach 1 fresh champagne mango, which I peeled and removed the core 1/4 cup Apple cider vinegar I pureed all the ingredients in my food processor and the put into my heart shaped ice cube tray and froze portions for later use.

Paw Paw’s and Tripe Chips

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One of my clients highly recommended a local self service dog wash that happened to be very close to where I live called Paw Paw’s. I wash my dogs at home but it is always nice to know of a close place to wash off my hiking pack when they get super muddy and I just can’t justify leaving them in their homes in that condition to muddy up their nice carpets. Not to mention, my clients talked very highly of the owner Ali. I went in to introduce myself. A young business women in her twenties, Ali was warm and welcoming. Paw Paw’s is not just a dog wash but a dog health food store and boutique as well. I am so happy to have found this place. I love The Dog’s Meow but it is just so far away from my house and Paw Paw’s is nice and convienient for me. Paw Paw’s carries various high quality foods for your pet, including Stella & Chewy’s raw food. I asked Ali if she carried tripe and she told me they were going to start carrying it next week. They did however have a product I have never tried.

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Made by a local company here in Utah, Proof Pawsitive Tripe Chips. “Your dog will try to convince you that you can’t give just one.” Nakia loved these chips so much that I caught her trying to sneak more out of the pantry. At about $11-$12 for a half pound package it was well worth the tail wagging. If you live in the Salt Lake Area, I also strongly suggest stopping by Paw Paw’s. Whether to pick up an adorable Easter Woof Wear collar, also a local company, or just to give your dog a spray down Ali makes you feel like you and your dog are her number one clients.

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The Benefits of Adding Apple Cider Vinegar to your Dog’s Diet

applesFor centuries people have been using apple cider vinegar to improve their health as well as for the heath of their pets. Raw apple cider vinegar is packed with potassium. One tablespoon contains 11 mg. When it is combined with foods that have significant vitamins it helps the body assimilate them. It will also help the body absorb calcium and other minerals. Vinegar helps prevent the growth of bacteria and viruses in the digestive tract. My theory is that this helps reduce the chance that your dog will have any issues with harmful microbes that may be in the raw meat you are feeding them. Especially because it will not effect the body’s beneficial bacteria. You can add it to their food or water, or apply it topically to your dog’s skin. If using topically for the first time, test it on a small patch of skin to be sure your dog doesn’t have an allergic reaction. Adding a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar daily to fresh water can help with eyes, teeth and coats. It is also a non-toxic cleaning product that is safe to use around your furry friends. You can use it to disinfect toys, deodorize bedding and to help remove pet stains.

Vinegar in general has a low pH. While water is neutral with a pH of 7, most vinegars are in the 2 to 5 pH range. Apple cider vinegar is in the 4.25 to 5 pH range making it less acidic than most vinegars. ACV, white vinegar and balsamic vinegar are the most familiar vinegars and are available at your local supermarket. Organic apple cider vinegar is made by crushing organic apples into a cider which is then aged in wooden barrels. The finished product is dark and cloudy because it is raw and unfiltered. It is usually light brown or orange color.

Apple cider vinegar can help with ailments such as:

  • Arthritis
  • Allergies
  • Skin Problems like dandruff and static control

It also helps:

  • Cholesterol problems
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Sinus infections
  • Regulate blood sugar levels
  • Regulate blood pressure
  • muscle aches
  • sunburn
  • insect bites and stings

I also like to add it into some of my vegetable purees. My dogs seem to love the taste.

Have you ever used apple cider vinegar for yourself or your dog? How do you use it?

Sources:

Puotinen, CJ. The Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar to Dogs. The Whole Dog Journal. January 2012

Flaxseed Salmon Treats

These treats have become a favorite of my dogs. They are rich in protein and omega-3s. They are also really easy to make. I found the recipe in Natural Dog magazine’s 2013 annual.

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For these treats you will need:
– 1 14-ounce can of salmon
– 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal. I used golden flaxseed meal.
– 2 egg yolks

1. Drain the can of salmon. Empty drained salmon into a large bowl and finely shred with a fork removing all bones and hard pieces.

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2. Add the flaxseed meal and egg yolks. Mix well.

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3. Take 1 teaspoon of the mixture and form into flat patties about 1/4 to 3/8 inch thick.

4. Place on dehyrator tray. Patties can be placed close together but should not touch.

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5. Dehydrate at 160 degrees for 6-8 hours or until dry and crisp.

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Store in an airtight container in the fridge and use within a few weeks. Excess can be frozen.

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