Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Good Review

I recently received good review of Raising Cats Naturally. Yea! The book continues to sell well, which is of course, good for me, but it's also good for cats because it means their caregiver is considering better care for them. I hate to think of all the cats eating dry food and being sick from it. They can't talk, so often they can't express how they feel. I know how I feel after eating crap food. I wouldn't wish that on anyone (well, most anyone).

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


I have been bad about keeping this blog up to date ... primarily because I've been maintaining a puppy blog, yes, me, with a litter of puppies! If you had asked me six months ago if I'd ever breed a litter of Border Collies I'd tell you, absolutely not. It was hard enough getting cats into natural rearing homes, never mind a breed of dog that usually doesn't make a good pet.

Well, Gel took matters into his own paws on June 9. Midge, a female (bitch) I purchased from a breeder in Idaho was going through a silent heat (cats are not silent while in heat!). Gel knew she was in heat and Midge decided Gel would make a good partner and I came out the morning of June 9, after putting them out for just a few minutes while I was packing up my car to go to a herding trial, and found them tied, with huge smiles on their faces.

Now, could it have happened that Midge didn't take or that she'd only have a couple of puppies? Nope, she delivered nine, yes, nine puppies on August 7. One died at birth and three more got tangled up in the sheets I had in the whelping box and suffocated (while I was at work), so we are down to a manageable five puppies.

Despite myself, I am enjoying it. It is very different from bringing up cats. Check it out. When I have a few minutes, I'll make this Blog as pretty as that one is.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Ten Years of Keeping my Thoughts Public

About ten years ago I started keeping my on-line journal, Natural Rearing Notes. Back in 1997/1998 natural rearing was not terribly common; feeding a raw diet was considered dangerous and impractical, and it still is to some extent; not vaccinating, the same, dangerous and stupid. I brought a lot of abuse upon myself through my writings, both in Natural Rearing Notes and on various e-mail groups.

I have maintained my stance on both raw feeding and vaccination. I don’t talk about it as much any more. I guess I don’t have the energy anymore. I wrote and published what can be considered a manual for anyone interested in feeding a raw diet to their cat: Raising Cats Naturally. I can gauge the general public’s interest in raw feeding by book sales: they are interested. That is a good thing. While I think about re-writing Raising Cats Naturally, the methods described in the book are still sound. I should update the vaccination chapter, one day.

I am no longer breeding purebred cats. Raising four generations of cats on the diet detailed in Raising Cats Naturally is proof enough that the diet is sound; raising four generations of cats without any of the normal vaccinations is proof enough that vaccinations are really not necessary for good health. My cattery didn’t suffer any plagues that could be vaccinated against and my cats, in general, were healthy and thrived. That doesn’t mean they never got sick. Of course they did, but given what I knew conventional catteries suffered, my cats’ illnesses were minor.

Today I live with five purebred and six random bred cats. It is the random bred cats that really sparkle, both in health and temperament. They are a delight (albeit sometimes a pain) to live with. Whenever one breeds for a particular trait, be it confirmation, color or working ability, you loose something along the way. I did it, I bred for a particular look, I was showing my cats much of the time I bred them. I couldn’t very well show something that didn’t meet the standard, so I bred to meet the standard. In the cat world, people who breed cats but don’t show them are considered backyard breeders. Anyone that does anything at all different from the norm is often ostracized. People are so much like sheep.

I don’t like myself too much; perhaps if I did I wouldn’t bring so much grief upon myself by my actions. I suppose at 47 I’m not going to change. It is what it is.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Ted's Excellent Adventure

This morning I went for a walk with the dogs. Since hunting season is over, we can walk in the fields. I love walking in the fields with a full or almost full moon because I don’t need to use my head lamp. It was especially pretty this morning because the moonlight was glistening off the little bits of ice clinging to the grass. As we head down to the fields, the dogs run on ahead of me. I have three now (yes, three, check out my Border Collie blog for more). Katie (she’s the new dog) who is still dragging a long line, which is an excellent toy for the cats, ran by me with Kessie and Gel. Chasing along after Katie’s line was Ted. Ted has gone for walks with us before out in the fields and this morning was no different. He runs along behind the dogs, as if he were one of them. Sometimes he teases the dogs by running into the tall grass and then up a tree.

Ted, the dominator, he was the cat who terrorized Kessie when she first arrived. Eventually Kessie realized cats were fun and not to be feared and Ted is her second-best friend (Nettie is her best friend). Now Ted is doing the same thing to Katie. How a dog can hold off a herd of 1,000+ pound cattle and be afraid of an eight pound cat is beyond me. This morning I could see that Katie was figuring out cats can be fun. She was dancing around Ted out in the fields. After our walk, she came into the house and through the kitchen without too much fuss. Walking through the kitchen through the hoard of cats seems to be like running the gauntlet for a dog that is afraid of the cats. Couple that with the slippery floor and you’ve got a real mess.

I worry a bit that some of my cats are so dog-friendly, but they seem to be able to recognize “their” dogs vs. strange dogs and act accordingly. This weekend a neighborhood dog, Biscuit, came to visit (my cats know Biscuit) and I saw Ted chasing her around. Ted thinks he’s tough, he’s the man, well, he was the man, now he’s neutered like the rest of the male cats living with me. Wonder if he’ll settle down once the hormones are out of his system?

Friday, February 02, 2007

Flea Market Kitties

The Flea Market Kitties were all spayed/neutered on Wednesday. Mother Nature was kind enough to deliver a snow storm on Thursday so I was able to be home with them during their recovery. The Catawba Valley Humane Society provides a wonderful service. You can get any size or sex cat or dog spayed or neutered for $57.00. That’s a bargain, especially when you are taking six at a time. I hated putting them through that trauma, but they all seem to be none the worst for wear.

Now I can enjoy them without worrying about the females getting pregnant and Ted spraying. It’s going to take a while for Ted’s hormones to settle down. He still thinks he’s “the man.” Kessie didn’t understand why I wouldn’t let her wrestle with Nettie or Ted yesterday.

I unsubscribed from all the raw-feeding, natural health Yahoo Groups lists I was reading from time to time. I have enough aggravation in my life that I cannot avoid without reading those lists. I remember a time when I loved e-mail lists, but today, I don’t hold much stock in them. People write me on a daily basis asking for help, which they get; I don’t need to be offering it on a mailing list. It takes too much time and effort and having access to e-mail and joining a mailing list seems to give lots of people the license to be rude. Life is too short. I’d rather play with my cats, dogs and sheep.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Feline Future

I visited the Feline Future web site today. I hadn’t been there for some time. They’ve redesigned it, yet again, and added several new products: liver powder (for those people who cannot source raw liver!), a kitten formula and catnip.

First of all, who cannot source raw liver? What will be next, powdered meat for those people who cannot source meat? They’ve already substituted raw egg yolk with powdered, supplemental Taurine, which should come from heart or other muscle meat and a mineral mix for calcium, which should come from raw bone. Soon they’ll be offering a complete powdered composition of a raw diet – all you need to add is water. And “kitten” food? Whatever happened to a diet that was appropriate for all aspects of a cat’s life, as a properly prepared raw food diet should be? I noted that the kitten formula is complete with powdered liver. I expect it’s likely the same formula as their regular Instincts TC (with the added powdered liver), just labeled for kittens. Pet food manufacturers have the general public brainwashed with their different formulas.

I guess I missed the bandwagon: should have got into the business of preparing raw cat food.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Raw Feeding

What is raw feeding? BARF used to be a term used to apply to feeding a raw food diet to dogs and cats. BARF is an acronym for Bones and Raw Food, which is a pretty broad description of a dog or cat diet, but that’s the term that was used. Now, the hot term is “whole prey model” something I have particular issue with. Unless you are feeding whole prey animals to your dog or cat, which most people do not and will not do (because it’s gross and it is really hard to source intact critters), you are not feeding whole prey. You are feeding bits and pieces of many different animals.

Then there's those horrible people who add supplements or follow recipes.

My cats are blessed with the option of hunting for themselves, which most of them do. Many do not eat the animals they catch. They have a wonderful time playing with them, but I frequently find petrified mice carcasses under the couch or behind the refrigerator. They seem to like to eat birds more than rodents. I really hate coming home to a kitchen full of feathers, but I recognize that what my cats catch and consume is far superior to what I can prepare and feed them.

Wish I could get the local Mexican meat market to carry whole, unskinned, ungutted, cows so I could drag one home and put it on my kitchen floor for the crew to dine on, but that isn’t going to happen. Heck, it’s hard enough to source chicken hearts, never mind whole animals to feed to my dogs and cats.

A few days ago, Simon (one of my American Shorthairs) caught and killed a rather large field rat. It must be quite a battle for these cats to catch and kill rats of this size. A few months ago, one of my black females dragged in a rat the size of a squirrel. Luckily it was dead when she brought it in. Simon deposited the rat in the living room and when about his business. Kessie discovered the dead rat and decided it was a great toy. After a while, I put her up in her crate with her new toy and sat down to watch some TV. A few minutes later, I heard crunch, crunch, crunch coming from Kessie’s crate. She was eating the rat. I thought about taking it away from her, but again, if she wanted to eat it, then all the more power to her. Hopefully she can convince her new kitty friends to supply a few more rats for her dining pleasure.

I can only imagine what would be said/thought if I told Kessie’s breeder that she ate a rat for supper.

I have often considered raising mice for my cats, but that’s too much darned work and mice are impossible to herd and I’ve decided if Gel can’t manage it, I don’t want it.

I don’t know, between restricting what you can call feeding your dog or cat a raw meat diet and insisting that “healthy” dogs don’t need training (see the entry in Gel and Kessie’s blog for Wednesday, January 17, 2007), what’s the World coming to?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Carbs and Dry Food

It is a never ending source of entertainment reading the posts on the Fancier’s list. One lady posted that she thought Iams and Eukanuba were some of the worst manufacturers available today. Of course, I agree with her, but many breeders feed both brands of dry cat food and of course swear by them … or do they really? I know many mix various brands of dry foods together and then offer them to their cats. They apparently don’t trust that one brand is truly 100 percent nutritionally complete. Good thinking on their part.

There is a prolific poster on the Fanciers’ list from New Zealand who seems to have an answer to every question posted. She insisted that Iams and Eukanuba were good foods and went on to say that she mainly looks at the protein and carbohydrate contents (protein should be high and carbs low) and that a low carb percentage would be 25%. That’s true, although a cat really has no need for carbs in his diet, which apparently she realizes because she went on to say that a natural food might be high in natural grains (corn, rice, etc.) – when cats don’t need foods high in grains.

Hmmmm, cats don’t need foods high in grains? Well what the heck are the primary ingredients in Iams and Eukanuba dry foods?

For kicks I wrote the Iams Company to find out the carbohydrate percentages in their dry foods. This analysis is not included on their product labels. They range from 30.68 percent to as high as 43.54 percent. The formula containing 43.54 percent is their weight control!

When will they ever get it right? Cats cannot properly utilize carbohydrates, they convert excess carbohydrates to fat. A weight reduction food should be high in protein, not carbohydrates.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Feline Health

I re-joined one of my favorite lists of all times today, Fanciers Health. It’s been a long time since I’ve read posts on this list, but I see little has changed. Same old, kittens failing to thrive, what type of dry food is the best, which is the latest and greatest drug for chronic conditions? For example, in the first digest I received, a lady wrote asking if it would be okay to leave her “chronic snuffler” on Zithromax (an antibiotic) continuously for the rest of his life. The cat is suffering from recurring upper respiratory infections (something I’m sure the cat was vaccinated for as a kitten and likely has been continuously vaccinated for). A lot of good these vaccinations have done him.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Flea Market Kitties

It is incredible that it’s the beginning of January and 65 degrees with thunderstorms forecasted. Global warming or just a fluke? I remember last December was quite warm. It is nice to be able to sleep with the back door ajar so the cats and come and go as they please. The only downfall with that is that they can hunt and bring their catch in to play with it. Last night Splash (the torti flea market kitty) woke me up by playing hockey with a mouse. Is there a reason why they can’t play with them outside?

You may be wondering why I keep referring to certain cats as “flea market kitties.” Back in June, I went to a local flea market to buy some chickens. I discovered that it was common practice for people to bring kittens to the flea market to give away and those that they don’t give away, they just let go. It is a horrible place for any animal to be left in and for people to leave kittens who are just barely weaned, if indeed they are weaned, to fend for themselves is an atrocious act. Even worst, I’m sure some of those free kittens end up as Pit Bull bait. I paid a young boy $5 for every kitten he caught running loose. I ended up with ten kittens and one adult. I found homes for the adult and five of the kittens. I still have six of them. While it’s a lot of work feeding eleven cats, I don’t regret keeping them.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

I am blessed

Absolutely nothing exciting is going on as far as the cats go. The flea market kitties will all get spayed and neutered this month. It has been unseasonably warm throughout December and now January and I’m surprised none of them have gone into heat yet. Ted (the only male) is hoping, but so far, his attentions have been rebuffed. Too bad there wasn’t a market for naturally raised flea market kitties as it likely would be a pleasure bringing up kittens from this group.

Last night I went to the local game processing plant and brought home three-five gallon buckets of venison scraps and bones. Gel thought it was absolutely fabulous and enjoyed stealing bits and pieces of venison while I packed it up in zip lock bags. I am blessed with this source of virtually free meat. The owner’s payment for saving these scraps: a case of Coors Light beer. We also get some processed venison during hunting season, but I have to pay money for that.

Via my cats, dogs and my interests in raising them naturally and herding, I’ve met the nicest people. From Judy and Roger Bustle (whom I get my rabbits from), Wally and Laura McSwain (the goat people), the lady I get my venison from (Deanna) and various other people, I am truly blessed.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Two Blogs!

Being a classic Type-A personality, I’m maintaining two blogs, one on my training experiences with Gel and Kessie and this one for the cats, Gel and Kessie. Trying to keep this blog free from dog content and the other free from cat content.

The cats are all doing well. The project this week is to clear out, defrost and clean my freezer. I made a huge error in judgment this weekend, didn’t get rabbits thinking I’d have a supply of venison scraps, only to find out the lady who was supposed to save me the venison scraps forgot. Oh well, if we run out of meat, the cats will have to hunt to feed themselves. Hopefully that won’t happen because hungry cats are no fun to live with. I cut back on their rations a bit the past few days and they are expressing their displeasure by tripping me whenever I walk in the kitchen. Eleven cats can do a pretty good job of creating an obstacle course for a not-so-agile human.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Writers write because they are driven to share experiences.

The above quote was from a posting on the Sheepdog-L list where they are discussing books by John Katz. I have not read his books, but whenever they are mentioned on the Sheepdog list, they are put down. Likely because Katz did not care for his rescued Border Collie in an appropriate manner. In the end Katz euthanized the dog because he had bitten several (two?) people.

I know a lot of people do not like or agree with what I write. I could say I don't care, but that's a lie. I care too much about what people think of me. That's probably why I drank alcohol. Yes, drank, past tense. I'm through ruining my health to cover up my feelings.

Back when I rescued the kittens from the flea market, I received a really nasty post. I've never received such a post, you couldn't forward or print it. It was an e-mail message written in invisible ink, once you read it, it disappeared. It is my opinion that if you have something to say, then you should say it and deal with the consequences. If it isn't something that you'd say to the person's face, then you shouldn't say it.

I still have six of the kittens I rescued from the flea market. They are not yet spayed or neutered, but they will be, this month. As I recommned to my kitten buyers, let them mature sexually before spaying them. None of the females have cycled, the one male is jowling and starting to show interest in the females, so he'll be done first. I certainly do not want to do any more cat breeding.

May you experience all the best in 2007.