Cat Grass

Cat Grass

The other week I was watering my houseplants when I noticed the ends of some of the leaves of one of my favourites were all frayed. What the heck? As the days went on, I noticed more and more of the leaves were missing their tips. I had just moved this particular plant, but I couldn’t imagine how a simple change of location could cause this. So, I did some sleuthing. Turns out, the new home I had chosen for my plant was accessible to my cat (a.k.a. The Culprit) and she had been happily nibbling away at her leisure! Needless to say, the plant changed locations again, and my little furball got a stern talking to.

Addie Additude

“Yeah I ate your plants, whatchu gonna do about it?”

It was then that I realized that since moving in August, my cat could now only enjoy her outdoor time contained on our deck and no longer had access to a grassy lawn. It was too dangerous to allow her to roam freely as our backyard went from the size of a postage stamp, to backing onto a coyote-filled ravine. So, she was missing her grass snacks apparently! This peaked my curiosity and I decided to look into cat grass as an alternative for her.

Did you know that cat grass is actually really beneficial?

Medically, cat grass has been reported to speed digestion. This is because it is a great source of insoluble fiber, which adds bulk to stool and helps food pass through the digestive system at a quicker pace. This means that it can be helpful for cats that suffer from digestive issues such as constipation and/or diarrhea. In addition to this, cat grass is an excellent source of folic acid. Folic acid helps the body produce and maintain new cells and is essential for red blood cell formation. All very good things!

Cat grass can also be beneficial for cats when they have a hairball or an upset stomach. When a kitty is having some tummy troubles, they will eat full blades of grass in order to induce vomiting. If they are eating for pleasure, they will chew up the grass and it will not cause regurgitation. So, you shouldn’t expect any grassy-kitty vomit unless your cat is having an issue.

Another positive aspect of cat grass is that it is super easy to grow. This means you can grow it yourself and have it available both inside and outside. This will offer your cat an alternative to munching on potentially chemically treated grass and/or toxic plants that can be found outside such as lilies, ivies and tomato plants. The best types of grass for cats are barley, wheatgrass, oat and rye.

And finally, I learned that it must be some tasty stuff because my little kitty gobbles it up! She smells it, she rubs against it, she eats it. She loves her cat grass!

Happy Addie

And really, who could ever stay mad at this cute little face?

Have you ever had an animal in your household eat your plants? What did you do? Have you tried cat grass or some other alternative? I would love to hear some stories or see some pictures!

Thank you for reading,

Kait.

Do cats see colour?

When you look at a rainbow in the sky, you see shades of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo,and violet. Do you ever wonder what your cat sees when he looks at a rainbow? Can your feline friend distinguish the same range of colour that you do? Does he see bands of black and white? Do the colours look blurred?

How cats see colour is a long-standing topic of research and the results are pretty amazing.While cats can’t appreciate all the colours that humans do, their world is not entirely black and white. In fact, cats live in a pretty colourful world.

What makes a colour so “colourful?”

Colour is discerned by the nerve cells in the eye. The retina of the eye has two main types of cells–rods and cones. The ability to differentiate cat6colours is determined by the presence of the special colour sensitive cells called “cones.” Human and feline eyes have three types of cones that can identify combinations of red, blue, and green. But because humans have 10 times more cones than cats do, they appreciate more colour variations. In scientific observations, cats don’t appear to perceive the full range of colours that humans can. Some scientists believe that cats see only blue and gray, while others think they see also see yellow like their canine counterparts.

Just as cones are responsible for distinguishing colours, rods have a special job to do as well. Rods detect light levels and motion. Cats have more rods than humans do, giving them the edge when it comes to seeing in low light or identifying moving objects.

How does a cat’s vision compare to human vision?

Just because cats don’t appreciate the entire spectrum of colour that humans do, that doesn’t mean they don’t perceive
different colours. They just may not see the “true” colour of an object. They are also less sensitive to changes in rightness, so they don’t have the ability to perceive colour in the rich, vibrant tones that we do.

In addition to colour perception, felines and humans have other visual differences. In some respects, feline vision is not as acute as human vision. Cats are more near-sighted than we are. When looking at an object from the same distance, the object may appear crisp to us, but blurred to our cats. For example, if a human sees an object clearly from a distance of 100 feet, it will appear blurry to a cat. In fact, the object will not appear sharp until the cat is much closer to it, about 20 feet away.

What are other visual differences between cats and people?

To compensate for these minor deficiencies felines have other visual advantages. Cats have eyes that are set more on the sides of the head, which allows them a broader range of peripheral vision than we have. The trade-off is a smaller range of visual acuity so cats don’t have the depth perception that we do.

Also, cats have elliptical pupils that dilate to the max, allowing them to capture as much light as possible. They also have reflective cells under the retina which form the tapetum. The tapetum gives cats the “shiny eye” appearance and also improves their ability to see in dim light.

“When compared to humans, cats see better in dim light (dusk and dawn) and more accurately detect motion.” 

Cats also have more rod cells in the retina than their human friends. Rods are responsible for detecting motion, even small movements at great distances. So, when compared to humans, cats see better in dim light (dusk and dawn) and more accurately detect motion.

Why do cats see what they see? 

Cats are equipped with the visual accommodations that allow them to survive and thrive in the wild. Seeing well in dim light and picking up slight movements in the forest at great distances improve the cat’s hunting ability. These assets also help a cat know when HE is the prey and needs to flee.

Knowing how and what your cat can see will help you make good choices for her. For example, you should keep your cat’s colour range in mind when shopping for toys. He will enjoy yellow and blue toys more than red ones. And you’ll understand why he suddenly becomes alert while sitting on the windowsill as he hones in on a bird flying 50 yards away. You’ll also know that to get his complete attention, you should stand directly in front of him where his range of visual acuity is greatest.

“Your cat will enjoy yellow and blue toys more than red ones.” 

And the next time you are lucky enough to be graced with a rainbow in the sky, rest assured that your cat can enjoy it, too. He won’t see ALL the colours of the rainbow, but he may see a bit of yellow and blue. And that’ll be just fine for him!

This client information sheet is based on material written by: Lynn Buzhardt, DVM
© Copyright 2015 LifeLearn Inc. Used and/or modified with permission under license.

Barney

 

My issues with an overweight cat

I adopted my cat Barney from Snelgrove Vet Services in 2012 and gave him a lovely retirement home. Most of you will know Barney from being the clinic’s cat. Many of you would come in and ask “Is she pregnant?”  Nope, just fat. Although the staff worked hard to try to bring his weight down with precisely measured restricted calorie foods, between his asthma making it that he didn’t have much energy and the fact that every time we forgot to put a lid on the treat jars he cleaned out the jar, it proved difficult to do.  When I took him home I had high hopes of getting him to shed some of this weight ht and never did I think that he would be any different then a regular cat besides being a little more lazy? That’s not the case and this is some of my experiences from owning an overweight cat compared to the many cats before him that were not. There is defiantly a big difference in health, living style and worries that you can have with them.

Barney doesn’t like to do much, he likes his morning, afternoon and evening naps, and the only way I can get him to exercise is by bringing him in my backyard where he just wanders around but mostly lies in the sun. Looking at the difference between cats that hang around my neighborhood or cats that come into the clinic, I can tell he doesn’t have the energy to be a regular cat. Playing with him can be quite amusing but not very eventful, it might just be my cat who is picky but he will only play with one certain toy and that toy only. You can throw it to him and he will throw it right back, but never chases it, he won’t even move from the spot he’s in! He just rolls his body around the floor without getting up. He has his good days when he will slide across the floor to chase it, and get up on his feet and play, this doesn’t last long though. Most of the time he stuffs it under somewhere and lies back down, or it will get stuck under his belly when he lays down and then were right back to him playing a game of catch.

We do let him outside occasionally for extra exercise but only when myself or another family member is watching him and only in our own backyard. Now, realistically, he probably couldn’t get far but he’s still that curious cat and I’m sure he can find himself in some sort of trouble. 

Barney likes to make sure that he’s fed right on time. He does not stop meowing until there is something in his food bowl. He is on Diet food which can get very costly compared to other foods. With cats, the healthy weight for them to lose monthly is half a pound! So if your cat is 10 pounds over weight, that’s going to take almost 2 years to lose that weight. In Barney’s case, he has lost a few pounds since I’ve had him, but also gained some. Its harder to lose weight then gain it and without even realizing it, he gained weight because I wasn’t careful. And now I’m back to square one. One problem that we have with him at home is that he can be a real trickster! Not saying all cats are like this, but I can understand now why he became so fat! We feed him in the morning around 6:30 am. Each of my family members have different schedules, so we all get up at different times. So what he does is, he will start meowing and following each one of us making us think that the person before forgot to feed him and he would get fed twice or even three times the feeding for breakfast! We eventually did catch onto this and have solved this problem by keeping a chart posted and marking off when we have fed him. 

Barney is on inhalers to help with his asthma and the added weight he carries around doesn’t help. He can’t run for a long time or he will start wheezing and huffing. Sounding like he’s been a smoker for years. It’s not nice and its hard for him to get very far without having an issue with his breathing. If he was slimmer I’m sure he’d get farther without doing this. 

Barns is almost 12 years old. Not old for a cat but being overweight makes him act like an older cat.  I sometimes see his back legs giving in. I’m sure he already has some arthritis and that’s why I’m pushing for him to lose that weight so that he doesn’t get the point where he gets too weak to even walk.

If you’re thinking about getting your cat a big play castle, or you have children that always want to run and play with your cat, or you have a high bed and you like your cat to cuddle at the end of that bed with you, this won’t be the case if you let them get overweight. Like I said, it is the easiest thing for them to gain weight!!! So, feed them a quality food in measured amounts and don’t let them trick you into feeding them twice! Always keep them active even if its playing with them for half an hour in a day. I love Barns all the same and could never replace him, but I’m still working on getting him down a few pounds so that he can live a happy and healthy life.

Thanks for reading, Samantha