RAW DIET vs. PREPARED FOOD
The final word is out on feeding raw diets to cats and dogs. The veterinarian associations (AAHA) American Animal Hospital Association and AVMA (American Veterinarian Medical Association have just come out with their position statements against the feeding of raw foods and BARF (bone and raw food) diets for dogs and cats. The AAHA’s statement is as follows:
"Past proponents of raw food diets believed that this was the healthiest food choice for pets. It was also assumed that feeding such a diet would cause no harm to other animals or to humans. There have subsequently been multiple studies showing both these premises to be false. Based on overwhelming scientific evidence, AAHA does not advocate or endorse feeding pets any raw or dehydrated non-sterilized foods, including treats that are of animal origin.
Homemade raw food diets are unsafe because retail meats for human consumption can be contaminated with pathogens. Studies done on both commercially available and homemade raw protein diets have found a high percentage (30–50%) of them contaminated with pathogenic organisms and up to 30% of the dogs fed such diets may shed pathogenic organisms in their stool. Many of the pathogens found in raw protein diets can be transmitted to the human population by contact with the food itself, pet or environmental surfaces. A disturbing number of these organisms have also been shown to be resistant to multiple antimicrobials.
Raw protein diets are now demonstrated to be a health risk for several groups including the pet consuming the diet, other animals in contact with these pets or their feces, human family members, the public. People at highest risk of serious complications found in raw diets are those that are very young, old or immune-compromised. These are the very groups that are the focus of most animal-assisted intervention (AA) programs. It is especially important that therapy pets involved in AA not be fed raw protein diets.
AAHA is committed to the human community, the veterinary medical profession, our AAHA hospitals and the patients we serve in recommending the best known medical practices using evidence-based medicine. We value the relationships between our pets and their families, along with the positive impact that they have on the larger population. Feeding a raw protein diet no longer concerns only each individual pet, but has become a larger community health issue; for this reason, AAHA can no longer support or advocate the feeding of raw protein diets to pets."
The American Association of Feline Practitioners (AAFP) and the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians (NASPHV) have both endorsed this statement.
FELINE INFECTIOUS PERITONITIS OR FIP FOR SHORT
In this section of the website I would like to talk about a subject that is very common in the world of cat breeding and one which a lot of catteries try very hard to conceal. The subject is FIP or more fully, Feline Infectious Peritonitis.
This disease has been recognized as a major feline health issue since the early 1950’s and although a tremendous amount of money and effort has gone into research since that time, FIP still does not have a cure nor is there even a complete understanding of this complicated disease. One thing that we do know is that FIP almost always occurs in a young cat or those that are very old.
Almost every cattery is infected by the corona virus. It is passed from mother to kitten at a very early age. The corona virus can be present in the cat throughout its lifetime and does no harm whatsoever. There are, however, some cases when a weak immune system allows the corona virus to mutate into FIP and the results are always fatal. FIP can be very difficult for a veterinarian to diagnose. There is no test for it, and as FIP can attack many different organs it can display many different symptoms.
Responsible breeders try as much as possible to prevent its occurrence in their catteries. In the breeding world, there is a saying that if you breed long enough, you will have FIP kittens. There is also another wise saying in the everyday world: "It is not the problem you have, but what you do about it that counts".
Responsible catteries ask that their purchasers promptly report back to them any health issue their kittens have. That way, a cattery knows of any problems and can take steps to correct the situation. We believe that it is a breeder’s role to act as a source of information for others who have purchased from our cattery.
We try our absolute best to produce the healthiest kittens possible. It is our policy to openly discuss any relevant health issue that may arise, and willingly share with buyers any problems that we feel are current in the cattery, especially any involving the litter the buyers purchased from.
Many people think that spending a large amount of money on a cat ensures that they will receive an animal that is perfect in every way. Just because a cat comes from champion lines does not guarantee there will be no hereditary problems or defects. Cats are like every other living being - they all have genetic problems. The breeder’s job is to do the absolute best he or she can with the lines that are out there; to use the gene pool to help breed out problems, hereditary diseases and weak links.
FIP is not a genetic problem and so therefore does not fall under the genetic guarantee as written in most contracts. It is for this reason that many catteries will not cover FIP should a problem arise. Our two year genetic guarantee specifically states that "FIP is considered by the breeder to be of a genetic origin". In other words, if you follow a few requests, we will replace a kitten that dies of FIP in the first two years of life. To our knowledge, we are the only cattery whose contract states that we will replace in the sad event that FIP occurs.
If you think your kitten is sick for any reason whatsoever, we ask that:
- You provide prompt veterinary care.
- As soon as is reasonably possible, notify us of the situation. We can sometimes assist in making a diagnosis.
- If there is a question as to the cause of death, we will ask for a necropsy (post-mortem).
Please remember that when purchasing any living being, be it a cat, or any animal for that matter, there are chances that you take. No matter how careful or caring, a breeder will eventually have a problem in one respect or the other. What you should expect is that the breeder provides you with the best quality animal possible, that she/he is available to answer questions, give guidance, information and help, and willingly backs up the guarantee if the purchaser has met his obligations as outlined in the contract.
THE MYTH ABOUT THE LIGHT COLORED CAT
Many websites these days make reference to one being able to tell the allergen level of a kitten by its color and gender. Many are stating that a female is lower than a male and lighter colored cats are better than darker cats. This whole statement is based on one test done about fifteen years ago. The test was conducted on only FOUR cats and none of them were Siberians. It just so happened that the cat with the lowest allergen level was a light colored female. This is hardly what one would call a proven scientific fact!!!
Allergen levels mostly run in lines. It follows if the parents are low, so should their kittens be low. To find the lower kittens you need to find a breeder that has tested and knows the level of his/her adults and then pick a kitten from that cattery that “calls to you”.
Breeders that have tested their adults will have the results in writing from a reputable testing facility. There are certainly catteries out there claiming they have tested and are posting truly remarkable results for every cat that they own. If in doubt of the claims someone is making, it might be a good idea to ask to see the test results in writing.