A few months ago, I wrote an article about my 16-year-old cat, Brandy. I promised a reader I’d write more about her diet (sorry it took so long Andrea), because for most people, owning a pet is like having a kid. You want to treat that being with respect and feed it good food that will make her (or him) have a long and healthy life!
Something that struck me in my research about pet food many years ago, is how pets are now having “human” diseases, chronic diseases that are associated with the western diet (i.e., processed, refined, junk food), like cancer, diabetes, liver and pancreatic disease, urinary tract infection, kidney infections, etc., etc. This is just not right! It’s not right for humans, and it’s not right for animals/pets either!
About 10-11 years ago, I decided to take Brandy to a holistic vet because, although I had already switched her to a commercial organic cat food (dry and wet), she was still throwing up way too often (every day, almost every meal). After a few tests, the vet told me that Brandy had IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), just like humans, and the commercial food, even organic, was irritating her digestive system, and all the throwing up was damaging too. So she was recommended a diet of real food. Makes sense, doesn’t it? I mean, why do animals eat “special” food anyway? Isn’t food, well… food?
Do you know what most pet foods are made of?? Usually it’s the lowest of low-quality food, scraps and by-products, various flours, extracts, sugar and salt, and sometimes not even food at all (like various chemicals), or even other dead animals like road kills! This food is so disgusting that they need to hide the smell with things that will attract your pets, and they also have to add various synthetic vitamins since the food itself contains close to none. Commercial pet food will also contain GMO soy and corn as a source of proteins and fillers. Just like I recommend everyone to eat WHOLE healthy foods, so the same should go for your pets. I recommend you take a look at your pet’s food ingredient list and see for yourself (don’t be fooled by fancy words making bad stuff sound good). (You can find some info here)
Right after that visit, I gave her a couple of homeopathic remedies at first to help out (I honestly cannot remember what), as well as some probiotics. I was told to cook some organic chicken drumsticks or thighs for a few hours in spring water, then add organic pumpkin or sweet potatoes in the last hour, and feed her that from now on. Once in a while, I add a bit of brown rice for added fibers (I cook it at the same time as the chicken, in the last 45 minutes), and also drizzle some oils on a semi-regular basis on top of her food, like fish oil or even a bit of olive oil. I also give her a bit of raw wild-caught fish once in a while as a treat, and buy organic wheatgrass regularly for her to chew on, or even give her the ends of lettuce leaves. She likes to crunch on them sometimes. I rarely buy yogurt for myself, but when I do (plain, organic, no added sugar), I give her a bit too (1/2 teaspoon). If I think about it, I mix 1 tsp of my morning juice with her food, for extra vitamins, but not on a daily basis. I sprinkle some kelp powder once in a while too, and I mix a bit of chopped raw parsley in her food on occasion too, for added nutrients and fibers (parsley is a great plant for pets, and humans too!).
So, that’s it! Brandy does not take any medication, but if I feel she has an issue, I treat her naturally with herbal supplements. Keeping your pets healthy in a simple and natural way takes a commitment obviously, but it really isn’t that hard (the same goes for our own health).
We cook her food every 5-6 days, get it all ready in a glass container and it’s ready to go. We feed her 3 times/day: breakfast, dinner and a smaller dinner before bedtime. She seems quite content eating her food, she’s always excited to eat it, and most of all, she is pretty healthy and vibrant for a small little runt cat who is turning 17 this summer. On top of eating healthy and organic, she has her daily exercise with my husband. Every morning, they have a fighting/boxing match on our bed for about 5 minutes, and in the evening a little bit more, which sometimes includes a few minutes of running and chasing each other throughout the whole house.
Just like you should spend quality time with your kids and your spouse, I think it’s important to spend a few minutes of quality time with your pets, and exercising with them is also a great thing to do, especially for the ones who are indoor pets and don’t get a chance to run outside.
Of course, I have to share a few pictures of Brandy below!