In the summer of 2001, my mom called in a panic and said "Is
your vet still open?" It was Saturday and the vets in her town
were closed. "Why," I said. She said a kitten had crawled
out of the woods near her house and was in terrible shape. He was
barely breathing and had punctures all over his body. It looked as
though he had been attacked by a wild animal. I put the 911 call into
Dr. Chris, my vet, while she sped down from Poland Springs with the
Mom showed up with the tiny gray kitten, looking dead in a basket. He
weighed a little less than a pound and was in terrible shape. He was
starved and dehydrated. He was very young, maybe 6 weeks old, but in
his starved and lifeless condition it was impossible to tell. He had
not been attacked, but had leaches and cutarebra worms burrowing into
his flesh. This helpless kitten had obviously been abandoned some
weeks earlier to get in this kind of shape. Dr. Chris removed the
worms and leaches, dosed him up with antibiotics, and I took the tiny
For the first 5 days, the weak kitten could only suck cream off a
cloth. He couldn't pick himself up to eat. As soon as he could eat I
fed him all the best commercial kitten foods. He had a long course of
antibiotics to recover from the infection the parasites had caused.
Slowly, his health improved and he gained some weight. I named him
Baby Sweetie, or B.S. for short.
A few months later I took him to get fixed. Soon after, he came down
with a high fever, another infection, and more antibiotics. When he
was feeling better, I took him back to Dr. Chris to get checked, and
he was well enough to be vaccinated. Again, he came down with another
unexplained fever &ldots; more antibiotics.
Everything was good for a while. B.S. gained weight and terrorized
his older brothers. Although he was very small, about half the size
of my other cats, he seemed to have overcome his hard start in life.
One day I noticed he hadn't eaten or gone outside. He looked sick and
cried if he was touched. This time the fix would be surgery to remove
a bowel obstruction of unknown origin. Dr. Chris was not optimistic
after seeing enlarged lymph nodes during surgery. He said "B.S.
may have FIP (feline infectious peritonitis) or feline leukemia."
Both feline diseases are fatal, but the FIP was particularly
insidious -- barely testable, non-treatable and incurable. Whatever
the root cause, the vet's prognosis was not good.
I left the office in tears. I didn't want the Baby Sweetie to die. I
had done everything I could to restore his health. I felt hopeless.
The FIP test would take weeks to come back. If he did have FIP, there
was nothing Dr. Chris could do for him. He would just die a painful
death or be put to sleep.
In my desperation, I began searching for alternative treatments,
anything to help him. I came across a web site in Australia where a
holistic vet was having some success treating FIP infected cats with
mega-doses of Vitamin C and raw meat. Her treatments were based on
her belief was that many feline diseases are actually massive
vitamin/protein deficiencies resulting from low quality cooked cat
foods. Wild cats are the apex of the animal kingdom's food chain.
They are the only obligate carnivores -- they have to eat meat, and
only eat meat in the wild. Other than their smaller size, domestic
cats are identical to their wild cousins. It seemed logical that
domestic cats need more high-quality protein in their diets than they
are getting in commercial cat foods made with waste products and grain.
I began to think maybe the B.S. needed some type of super nutrition.
When he was a kitten and should have been getting super-nutrition
from his mother's milk, he was enduring neglect and starvation. I
read more and more information about the horrible stuff used in
commercial cat foods and the diet related diseases plaguing cats
through out the country. The "best" canned kitten food
hadn't seemed to help the Baby Sweetie one bit.
I came to the conclusion that I had nothing to lose with trying the
biologically-appropriate food approach with Baby Sweetie. Dr. Chris
figured I would kill him feeding him raw chicken. Half of my
college-educated brain was listening to Dr. Chris, but the other half
of my college-educated brain kept saying "cats don't have
stoves". I was sure I could make him better food than the
"nutritionally complete" canned foods made with animal
waste, 4-D meat, dyes and preservatives. I took a leap of faith and
started feeding him raw food.
I burned up a few Cuisinarts making him "wild" cat food.
Many batches found their way to the trash, as my test subjects turned
their noses up at a formula with too much of this or of that. But,
slowly I figured it out. I used all organic chicken or fish, brewers
yeast, flax seed, lecithin, kelp, kale, carrots, apples, blueberries,
all kinds of vitamins. I started adding lots of clams as the natural
source of Taurine, an amino acid that cats can't synthesize on there
own and is found only in muscle meat and shellfish. Mollusks, like
clams, have the highest density of the essential amino acids that are
the backbone of feline health.
When the test came back Baby did not have FIP, but his immune system
was clearly compromised. It has been two years since Baby Sweetie,
and the other three kitties have been on the "Wild Kitty"
diet. Baby Sweetie has not been sick again. None of my cats have ever
shown any ill effects of eating raw food, in fact quite the opposite.
It's hard to explain, but they look wide awake. The food has
transformed them into their ultimate cat selves.
Sweetie's blood tests are no longer that of a sick kitty. Although
the little terror is tiny, he has a beautiful, luminous coat and
bright, shiny eyes. He is no longer a weak and ailing kitten, but the
picture of health. I will never really know why Baby Sweetie got
better, or why he was sick in the first place, but his raw diet was
the key to his recovery.
My cats are my children.
They are less troublesome than regular children and more
affectionate. When preparing meals for my family, I take great care
in buying fresh quality ingredients. A healthy human diet contains a
minimum amount of processed foods, and a plentiful amount of fresh,
whole foods. Would you feed your children an uninterrupted diet of
highly-processed junk food with no fresh meats or vegetables? Then
why would you do that to your cat?
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