Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cat Vet Talks About Feline Care

York veterinarian writes cat care guidelines
Vet helps write guidelines

September 23, 2009

"Editor's note: Business writer Rob Levey recently interviewed veterinarian Dr. Gerry Beekman.

"The York Weekly: What is the name of your business?

"Gerry Beekman: Coastal Cats Feline Health Care.

"YW: How long have you been in operation?

"GB: I was The Cat Clinic from about 1989 to 2003 or 2004 when I took a hiatus and worked for the University of New England. I came back in 2007 and found a different location more conducive to what we're doing...Cats are not small dogs. They have specific needs of their own — and because they're unique I wanted to focus on that.

"YW: In what ways are they unique?

"GB: In a number of ways, but they are certainly unique in their biology and they differ in their nutritional needs, too. A lot of people feed them like they're small dogs and that can lead to a lot of problems such as obesity, hypertension, diabetes. Unlike dogs, they are not omnivores, they are obligate carnivores. That means they are meant to eat meat. Like I always say, 'mice not rice.'

"Cats are also fairly solitary in the wild, so to be surrounded by other cats and dogs, one of their two predators along with hominids, and there can be an emotional toll on them, too. There are aspects to their psychological and emotional needs that may or may not have been addressed properly until recently. When I was in vet school, the section on cats was about five minutes long at the end of a 55-minute lecture. Feline medicine has expanded geometrically in the past 15 years..."

(read more)

Aksum Notes: Cats need calcium, taurine and Vitamin A in their food, among other things. They cannot metabolize beta carotene into Vitamin A like people and dogs can. In the foods we feed here at Aksum Abyssinians, we look for 40% or more protein (dry weight, which is about 10% in wet canned food) and no grains, like the quintessential cat food, a mouse. Our favorite dry food that has stood the test of time is Taste of the Wild, found here in Atlanta at feed stores and pet specialty stores such as Red Bandanna.

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