|Tips & Tricks
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Tip #1: In order to compare how much protein, carbohydrate, fiber, or fat is in a canned food vs dry, you need to
compare them on an equal basis, excluding the water content. Converting to dry matter basis makes it easy.
Here's a formula to do it: nutrient percent (crude protein, fat, fiber or carbs) divided by the reciprocal of moisture
content. (Reciprocal of moisture content is simply 100 - moisture content.) For example, if a can lists crude
protein of 12%, and moisture of 78%, to figure the "actual" amount of protein in the food: divide the crude protein
(12) by the reciprocal of water content (100-78=22). 12 divided by 22 = .545. The actual protein content is
almost 55%, a lot more than it would appear without converting to a dry matter basis. *You need to convert both
canned food and kibble to dry matter to accurately compare/contrast nutrient content.
Tip #2: Use ceramic bowls or better yet, stainless steel bowls to feed your cat. Plastic bowls can harbor germs
and can also cause skin lesions and feline acne on your cats' face because of oily residue leftover from the food.
Tip #3: When starting your cat on frozen raw food, try this: Thaw the food overnight in the refrigerator, or leave
out for about 15 minutes at room temperature. If your cat is reluctant to eat raw at first, try heating in a skillet at
very low heat for a little under a minute on each side. Just enough to get the scent of meat and the juices going,
not to cook it. Eventually you won't have to do this but it can definitely work when introducing. NEVER use a
Teflon skillet or frying pan, it's toxic to animals. Use a stainless steel or cast iron skillet. If you don't have one
initially try microwaving for just 5 seconds to take some of the chill off, try to stick to 5 seconds. It can be
dangerous to microwave raw food, because the bone fragments can splinter and it also changes the nutritional
balance. But anything less than 40 seconds is safe and 5 seconds is usually the magic number. Don't do this for
very long, just a few days to get the cat to start eating it. But heating with a skillet is much safer and keeps the
nutrients much better. Warming the food this way prevents you from actually cooking the food, as the whole
purpose of feeding raw is to preserve the precious enzymes that are missing from over cooked and processed
Tip #4: If you need to defrost some raw food quickly, put it in a Ziploc plastic baggy. Seal it and place it in a bowl
filled with very warm water for approximately 3-5 minutes. Remove from baggy and serve along with the juices
Tip #5: To help lower phosphorus levels for a cat with renal insufficiency or kidney disease, instead of buying
low protein foods, use cooked egg white! This information is from Dr. Hodgkin's' book. Cooked egg white is high
in quality protein and contains no phosphate. What you do is add cooked egg white (from a hard- boiled egg with
the yolk removed) to wet cat food by chopping it up and mixing it into the food. What it does is reduce the amount
of wet cat food you feed by adding enough quality protein from the cooked egg white, which has no phosphorus
in it, to make up the difference in quantity, i.e. dilluting the phosphorus while still providing the cat with top quality
protein. Vets are starting to go a different way than recommending a lot protein diet as that's not suitable for a
carnivore, they need the protein! This is a good alternative to feeding something other than prescription diets.
Tip #6: A lot of cats won’t eat chunky or shredded food. They love those particular brands yet they only lick up
the gravy and leave the food part. Try using a blender or food processor. Simply put the whole can of food in the
processor and it makes a nice pate. Pour the gravy over the pate afterwards. You can also try using any leftover
and mix it with a little bit of another brand they like and again blend it or put it in the food process. This really
opens up food options!
Tip #7: This is a useful tip a member learned on line. For those of us who are out of the house all day, when
feeding canned food, it can be worrisome to leave them with food in the morning and then nothing till we get
home at night. I am usually gone for 12 hours. But if you freeze the food and leave it out when you leave, by mid
day it is perfect (as the Internet article said) mouse temperature! I have started freezing ½ can squares that I put
out in the morning. Works great.
Tip #8: When your kitty is being extra picky or is just not eating the new food, use food toppers. Get some
dehydrated pet treats and crumble them up and sprinkle them on their food. Purebites is a great treat for that as
they are small and easy to crumble! Plus pets really love them. But any dehydrated treat or pet food will do. You
can also get some food toppers that come in shakers.
Tip #9: If you have a large number of pets to feed, go to the thrift shop and buy a stack of their mismatched
glass and ceramic tableware (primarily saucers and salad/dessert bowls). It can give you a near-endless supply
of clean dishes that don't retain harmful residue. And at 25 or 50 cents each, if they break or go missing, who
cares? For ceramics just make sure they're meant for food and aren't "decorative use only" souvenir type items,
or they might contain lead. They should be fine as long as they've been made in the past 20 years or so, or older
if their country of origin is the US, Europe or Japan. If you stay away from red, blue & purple; those glazes are
the ones that primarily have lead. Clear glazes are safest.
Tip #1: When giving slippery elm bark, take a tablespoon of hot water and mix it with about 1/2 capsule of SEB
powder. As it starts to cool, it will thicken. Sometimes you can add more powder and sometimes more water to
get it to a thin enough consistency that you can fill a syringe. The easiest syringe to use is a 3ml, and fill
completely. Then insert the syringe in the back corner of your cat's mouth and let them drink it down. Just be
sure to make it as thick as possible as it helps coat the lining of the GI tract, similar to Pepto Bismol. (NEVER use
Pepto Bismol). You can also use mix about 1/4 teaspoon of slippery elm bark powder with hot water for every 10
pounds of body weight. Mix well and let cool. They call it a "liquid band aid". Slippery elm should be given at
least two hours away from any other medications or supplements. 30 minutes isn't long enough for the
mucilagenous coating in the digestive tract to dilute enough to let absorption take place, mostly in the intestines.
Many holistic vets believe that when given with a meal, it can inhibit the absorption of nutrients from the food.
Tip #2: For diarrhea or constipation, add a teaspoon of all natural canned pumpkin to your cat's meal. Any
canned pumpkin will do but Farmer's Market Organic is the best one and seems to be the most tasty. Make sure
it's the 100% pumpkin and not the pie filling. It works like magic. Canned pumpkin is good for 7 days in the
refrigerator but usually only tastes good for about 4-5 days. Place the remainder in ice cube trays and freeze.
Then place them in baggies or a container immediately for freshness and defrost as needed or freeze 3 days
worth at a time.
Tip #3: During allergy season your kitty can pick up pollen on their fur that makes them more sensitive. Sneezing
and a stuffy nose can make them not eat as well. A simple solution is to rub them weekly with a kitty wipe like
Tropiclean Allerwipes, which are on the supplements page. They remove pollen and dander and make your cat's
fur soft and fluffy. Any kitty wipe will do but that's the one I use and prefer. Just make sure they are non toxic and
have no ingredients you think would be harmful to a kitty. For more allergy tips see further down the list.
Tip #4: When first giving your cat salmon, sardine and/or anchovy oil (or any fish oil), always keep it refrigerated
and never let it get to room temp as it easily turns rancid. As you know, cats are sneaky, finicky, picky, little
buggers. So not all of them will like it unfortunately. Like everything else with them, it has to occasionally be
eased into their diet. Try sneaking a really tiny drop in their food at first and see if they'll eat it. Or put a tiny bit on
your finger and then rub it on their paw pads. They absolutely hate anything on their paws and will have no
choice but to lick it up! They may get your floor a little oily in the process though so keep a towel handy. You can
put some on your finger and rub it on their lower lip so they lick it up. Also, try taking a dehydrated or freeze dried
treat and dipping it in the oil first. Keep trying, don't give up. These oils are a great source of Omega 3's and anti-
Tip #5: Use aloe vera for digestive issues instead of pepcid or other antacids. It works great for vomiting or
inflammation, but be careful not to use too much, it can cause diarrhea. Give it either straight in a syringe or
mixed with something else like food, works best if given about 30 minutes before eating. It can be added to their
water as it has no taste at all, but make sure it doesn’t deter them from drinking. If so, give it in the syringe or
food. Take one teaspoon of the aloe and dilute it with equal parts water. So 1 tsp. aloe, 1 tsp water. And mix it. It’
s fine to do that about 2-3 times daily but less if there’s not a lot of stomach upset. Or get your vet’s advice on
how much to give. It must be 100% Pure distilled Aloe Vera, nothing else added. You can also put some in a
spray bottle and give their coat a nice, soft, healing glow. Soothing for dry skin and dull fur. Look for George's
Aloe Vera from Warran Labs on this page: http://ibdkitties.net/Antiinflammatories.html.
Tip #6: For UTIs, bladder and other urinary problems, use NOW Foods brand D-Mannose powder. I recommend
this brand because it's 100% pure D-Mannose, vegetarian and no fillers. Using a tiny measuring spoon, measure
1/8th of the powder and use equal parts water, if not a little bit more. Can be added to food, or syringed into the
mouth. This product works because it naturally helps by sticking to "undesirable" foreign substances, preventing
them from sticking to the lining of the bladder. D-Mannose can be found on this page:
http://ibdkitties.net/Antiinflammatories.html. And the measuring spoons I use are Amco Measuring Spoons which
are found on this page: http://ibdkitties.net/Helpfultools.html. There are no measurements on the spoons but
someone figured them out to be: 1/8th, 1/16th, 1/32th and 1/64th.
Tip #7: When using homeopathic treatments that contain alcohol, burn the alcohol off by placing the open bottle
in a glass or container with very warm to hot water for about 15 minutes. Let cool before administering any doses
afterwards. You only need to do this once but cats cannot filter alcohol through their livers and it is toxic to them
so burning off the alcohol must be done.
Tip #8: For intestinal issues, (diarrhea, vomiting, inappetence, etc.), use Jarrow's N-A-G 750.
www.ibdkitties.net/Diarrheaconst.html. The capsules are huge so either give to the kitty in food or put in a
smaller, #3 empty gelcap. Give once to twice daily separate from medications.
Tip #9: To Control Hairballs Naturally …and in a species-appropriate fashion without the use of products that
contain mineral oil or petroleum jelly, use egg yolks and/or egg yolk lecithin. HOW IT WORKS: Hairballs are the
result of compromised GI motility. The hair does not pass the stomach, and gets bound with fat (thus that stinky
gooey mess!). Lecithin is a fat emulsifier. Giving your cat egg yolk lecithin will help emulsify the fat binding the
hair, enabling kitty to pass it more easily. This alone may work for healthy kitties, but many kitties, especially IBD
kitties, have impaired GI motility. To address this, feed your cats one or two egg yolks per week (raw or cooked
does not matter: you can mix it into food). Egg yolks provide many nutritional benefits, but what concerns us here
is the nutrient, choline. A component of choline is acetylcholine. Acetylcholine acts as a major neurotransmitter
for the autonomic nervous system (which includes the GI tract). Acetylcholine improves peristalsis, pushing food
more efficiently through the digestive tract. An added benefit of choline is that choline has been shown in clinical
studies to improve memory and clinical signs of cognitive symptoms of dementia disorders. Using choline to
prevent hairballs may also protect your kitty from developing dementia in her senior years. If using an egg yolk
lecithin supplement, start small and work up as needed. Start with ½ capsule sprinkled onto food every other
day. Keep an eye on the litter box: some cats may develop diarrhea before a completely effective dose is
reached. Do not exceed one full capsule 2x a day. The effective maintenance dose during shedding season will
be higher than in fall and winter. You may not need to use the lecithin supplement if you include one or two egg
yolks weekly. Because I use one egg yolk per cat weekly, and still need 1/2 a capsule daily of lecithin for my
three boys that are the worst hairball offenders. And during shedding, they need a full capsule 2x a day, despite
the weekly egg yolk. You do not have to feed a full egg yolk at a time: some find ¼ egg yolk added to four meals
a week to be effective in hairball prevention. As with all things IBD, it depends on your kitty. Warning:
acetylcholine also increases GI secretions. This may be a problem for kitties with ulcers.
Tip #1: When giving B12 or other injections, if you set them up for the shot by coaxing them down, doing some
huggin' and lovin', "tent" the skin on the back of the neck and plunge. Then immediately stick a favored treat
under their nose while rubbing the injection area to confuse the sensations. They don't really notice, nor dread
Tip #2: When you have a large prescription bottle of B12 (100 mls) and want to use extra "light-blocking"
precautions, take an empty plastic container of Oxy-Clean powdered laundry additive and put the bottle in there,
cover and all. It fits perfect and doesn't take up much room. A smaller B12 bottle can be inserted into a regular
empty prescription pill bottle. Store in a cool, dry place at room temperature.
Tip #3: When giving pills, empty gel caps can be used to mask the taste, combine several medications in one
pilling (as long as they are safe to give together), and remove sharp edges from cut pills. If your local pharmacy
doesn't have them, they can be bought online from capsuline.com, iherb.com, and other retailers. For cats, use
size 3,4, or 5. (Size three is the largest). Simply put the pills in the capsule (or crush them first and insert into gel
cap with a small funnel) and administer (using a pill gun is easiest). Always follow with a water chaser (2-3ml) to
ensure the capsule gets into the stomach and reduce the chance of esophageal irritation.
Tip #4: Instead of giving medications in Pill Pockets, which contain a lot of gluten, use a dehydrated raw food
treat like Wholelife Chicken or turkey. Soak the treat in a little water until it's saturated, insert the medication and
make a meatball out of it. This brand of treats is a big hit with a lot of cats! If you want to use these treats to give
pills but they can still smell the pill inside the treat, put a little bit of non-fat cottage cheese on the outside of the
treat after inserting the pill. The cheesy smell will help block the smell of the medication and your pet will get an
extra flavor from the treat!
Tip #5: When pilling your cat, use a pill gun and dip the rubber-tipped end in some low-fat cottage cheese. That
way when you pop the pill in your cat's mouth, it'll be slippery and just fly down his/her throat. Doesn't stick to
their tongue and they like the taste.
Tip #6: When giving a 5 mg dose of Prilosec to your cat, take a 20 mg capsule, empty and split it into 4 little
piles, putting each little pile into an empty #3 capsule. Using a dark colored dish for this really helps to see the
beads. You can use a small perfume funnel for this, a link for those are listed on the medications page under
supplies. Breaking into a delayed release enteric coated tablet in order to split it can be dangerous because you
aren't giving the same dose each time. This way each little bead in the capsule is enteric coated so there is no
risk of putting too much raw medicine in their tummy at once.
Tip #7: If your kitty is super hard to pill or refuses to eat anything added to their food and they are not eating well
at all, your vet can give them a taurine shot that lasts up to a month. Taurine is a vital nutrient for cats and they
cannot do without it. It also helps if you’re going away somewhere and pet sitters are caring for them, it’s one
less thing for them to worry about. If your cat is on the medication ursodiol, you should supplement with 250-
500mg per day due to increased urinary losses of taurine. There's a possibility that chronic use of Ursodiol in
cats may deplete the body of taurine.
Tip #8: When giving oral Zofran, crush the entire pill in a pill crusher. Use the measuring spoons I have listed
above in Tip #6 for the natural remedies. Use the smallest size spoon (1/64th) and if giving your pet a 1/4 of a
Zofran, scoop a full size of the smallest size spoon. If giving a 1/8th of a dose of the Zofran, cut that spoon size in
Tip #9: For Tylan (or Tylosin), The dosage for cats according to petplace.com
www.petplace.com/drug-library/tylosin-tylan/page1.aspx, is 2.5 to 5 mg per pound (5 to 10 mg/kg) every 12
hours. Take the cat's weight in pounds and divide by 119 to get the number of mls to use. Take an insulin
syringe and insert the proper amount of water that would equal the dose. Then use Amco Measuring Spoons
which are found on this page: http://ibdkitties.net/Helpfultools.html, which I use for everything,
and see which spoon it fills properly. Use that spooned amount of Tylan for the proper dosage each time. I use
empty gel caps to dose a kitty with Tylan.
Other Useful Tips:
Tip #1: Inappropriate elimination and incontinence is often a big problem in kitties with IBD and other illnesses
that are treated with prolonged steroid use. When all else fails to fix the problem try using kitty diapers that will
catch urine but let the cat poop in the litter box normally. To keep them clean, try taking them to a groomer every
other month for a sanitary groom. In between those grooming sessions, wipe kitty's butt down with a damp wash
cloth every time you change their diaper (could be two or three times a day). Only use diapers that are made of
cotton fabric and are completely machine washable. You can also put a half an incontinence pad in the diaper to
absorb the urine.
There are companies that make diapers specifically for pets with these issues, here's an example of one:
www.castlepaws.net/studpants.html. This particular company offers various sizes of diapers, has a sizing chart
on her site, as well as instructions for measuring your kitty to determine what size they are - and they do also
special orders. Try doing a google search for cloth pet diapers or even check places like Ebay for other
Tip #2: A list of kitty household "must haves": These are for emergencies, illness, stress, injuries, etc.
Everyone should have a good set of nail clippers and quick-stop, or another type of styptic powder or gel to stop
toenail bleeding. Several pairs of gloves - preferably non latex - you can have a box handy, but a first aid kit
should contain at least 2 pairs. Sterilized gauze bandages and pads, tweezers, thermometer, scissors, cotton
swabs, adhesive tape (to secure bandages) all should be included in any first aid kit (for our pets & ourselves).
Also include an oral feeding syringe, there are different sizes but one that holds 2 teaspoons is good for the kit.
Those who give pills often should include a pill gun and pill splitter, pill pockets for easy pilling and/or #3 gel
caps in case you need to give multiple medications or something terrible tasting. Insulin syringes if your pet is
diabetic or you're giving B12 injections. Also keep some pepcid a/c regular strength tablets available with the
permission of your vet for a kitty with chronic illness, for nausea and vomiting and when they aren't eating
because of an extremely upset tummy.
Jar of Beech Nut baby food, chicken or turkey. Make sure there is NO garlic or onions in them as they are toxic
to pets. Also a couple of cans of tuna in order to entice them to eat if they're feeling ill or nauseas. Not to be fed
all the time, but good for those occasions. A couple of cans of pumpkin (preferably organic). A teaspoon in food
helps to regulate either constipation or diarrhea naturally and soothes the bowels.
Nutrical - not the best ingredients but invaluable when caring for a sick animal or fostering other pets and trying
to get them to eat. This helps greatly in trying to avoid liver damage and making sure they're getting enough
calories during illness.
May also want to include some catnip, freeze dried or jerky treats, and a cat toy (fuzzy ball, laser light, etc.). If
you are in an emergency situation, familiar toys or catnip can help calm kitty down and the treats are great for
distraction while you bandage him up. Feliway spray - spray in carriers for calming before vet visit. Also to spray
around an area that is being peed on to discourage that behavior. Rescue remedy - calming before vet visit, kids
in house or any other stress.
For an evacuation or 'bug-out' kit make sure to include some of kitty's food, but also make sure to rotate it out so
it doesn't expire. Guidelines suggest having enough canned & dry food and water stored for 3 days. Always keep
a list of vet and emergency numbers/addresses, medication lists and dosages, and copies of other medical
records. You should also include a flashlight and an emergency radio, but also one of those small flash lights as
it can be useful for looking at your pet's eyes, ears and in the mouth - but also if there's a power outage or the
cat gets loose outside, etc.
Some own several cat strollers with a detachable carrier so you can transport pets in it and then attach it to the
frame and push it. That way you can squeeze 2-3 kitties in together. You can also have 1 or 2 collapsible cat
carriers, that can hold 1-2 cats each.
You can buy a bunch of WonderBox disposable cat pans that can be used as a litter boxes. Also have collars
with your pet's names and phone numbers attached. You do not need to have the collars on your cats if they are
indoor only but put the collars on if they go outside the house and make sure your pets are all microchipped as
Are You Ready? Emergency Planning and Checklists - www.fema.gov/areyouready/emergency_planning.shtm.
Disaster Preparedness - www.aspca.org/pet-care/disaster-preparedness/
Natural Disasters and Animals - http://www.ibdkitties.net/disasters.html
Tip #3: Seasonal Allergies
Your pet is just as susceptible to pollen allergies as we humans are, especially when they’ve got a compromised
immune system. Keep your window sills clean, wipe them down with soap and water or a mixture of vinegar and
water. Give your kitty a good wipe down with kitty wipes (preferably the Tropiclean allergy ones, they have no
chemicals or bad ingredients: (http://ibdkitties.net/Groomingoral.html), or even just a soft cloth with water a
couple of times a week during high allergy days to get that pollen off their fur! Wipe your kitties with an
electrostatic dust cloth like Swiffer since it will pick up pollen and dust and it has no chemicals or scents in it. It
works great, you can see the yellow pollen on the cloth afterwards. I use those often to wipe down my furniture in
Keep their ears clean and free of pollen and mites. If their eyes get red and irritated you can use pure saline to
give them a little moisturizing rinse. Use a furminator to get the extra layer of fur off and brush them OFTEN.
There’s a PetAlive product called the Furball Dr. that’s also on the grooming page. Give them L-lysine daily in
their food or at least 3-4 times per week for respiratory and eye issues. You can also subscribe to a daily email
of your local area’s pollen count and they’ll tell you the numbers and specifically what pollen is active at that
If respiratory/allergies and/or terrible itching of the skin are uncontrollable, ask your vet about Zyrtec. I’ve seen a
lot of good things about it being used in cats, and some have managed to lower their prednisone doses because
of it. These articles are really worth reading, especially if your pet has symptoms of eosinophilic diseases. The
more I read about this condition, the more I think in IBD kitties, it can be a side effect of their inflammation in the
Why I Love Zyrtec for Cats
Eosinophilic diseases; Skin Diseases from Allergies in Cats
For insect bites or stings you could use the fractionally distilled clear aloe vera liquid, (I have some on the
digestion page). It works great as a wound cleaner and healing agent. You can also try the Flying Bassett
Organics Aloe Vera Extract on the grooming page. It’s a powder that can be made into a paste for wounds as
well as used internally for digestion.
PLEASE remember that if you have to use pesticides for any reason, remove clothing and shoes immediately
when entering the house, wash yourself up very well (showering would be best, also washing your hair) and
wash your clothing in the laundry. Pesticides are sometimes a necessary evil, especially when you have a
horrible pest infestation that’s doing some major damage. Also remember to close your windows before you
spray or apply anything on your property as the wind can bring it in the house. They are just like our kids and
their systems need protecting as much as possible. A lot of those things can cause cancer and we need to be
extremely careful. And don’t forget that so many of your kitties already have compromised immune systems and it
doesn’t take much with a cat to tip the scales with them developing additional conditions. Being on steroids can
also help that along so just be careful. It’s also a good idea when you’re mowing the lawn to shut the windows
until you’re completely done and again, remove your shoes, shower and wash your hair.
Also think about removing the cover from your cat’s litter box as ANY cat litter contains dust, some more than
others. And all that does is contribute to their allergies and respiratory problems. I now use Dr. Elsey’s
Respiratory Relief cat litter.
Tip #4 from Annabelle's mom Sarah: I got a waterpick from CVS, the cheapest one I've seen for about $22. It's
battery powered and meant for people to take when they travel. It came with a green and a blue tip so I can use
one and the cats can have the other. Now with these two girls I always have to do this thing that involves either a
towel wrapped around them or a pillow case so just their head sticks out. The water pick has an on and off
switch, and a pause button that you have to push really hard on the pick to get it to work. So the procedure was
done in the bathtub. For the water I used bottled water- because thats what they drink. I was able to get the right
top and bottom on Annabelle. I hit 'pause' about every 5 seconds and kept her head sort of tilted so while her
mouth was open the water was likely to just come out. I started on the 'low' setting and was able to use the 'high'
setting on a tooth towards the end. She did end up wet. I did get scratched but that wasn't until I was drying her
off when she leaped out of my arms. On Misty I was able to go a bit longer (she tolerated it better) and I actually
got both sides top and bottom. She also was wet. I did see some improvement on their gum lines after just one
treatment. Also they are both eating right afterwards so there dosnt seem to be any gum/mouth tenderness after
So verdict is - yes it can be done. Annabelle hates water but still seemed less stressed than when I try to brush
her teeth. Misty likes water and this seemed pretty effective with her also. Its hard to brush both of their teeth so
this may be a good way to start for anyone else who has a hard time brushing their cat's teeth. Once or twice a
week use this to help clear the gum line and loosen the harder stuff, then on the alternate days use a pet
toothbrush. Now you do have to find a creative way to secure your cat while using this method, especially if you
have a "flies out of the bathtub with claws forward" kind of kitty. They make 'kitty bath bags' that allow just the
head to stick out. Or you can do what I do - a pillow case. Use a hair tie to secure it closed just behind the neck
so the front feet can't come out. It sounds worse than it is I promise. Others may have other ways of doing it.
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