Many years ago when I was a little girl, almost every household in our little town in Europe had a cat. These cats were kept for one reason only – to keep mice away. Even though these cats ate table scraps or whatever they found or killed in the wild, they seemed to have longer and relatively healthier lives than cats today. I realize that people then probably did not pay as much attention to the health of their cats as people do today and some of the cats may have died as a result of undetected disease, but the majority of them survived and lived long and healthy lives.
Having this picture of healthy, happy and “low maintenance” cats in our memories, my family adopted three cats from various shelters over the last eleven years - a four-year-old female Oreo and two male kittens, Peter and Cert. Of course, we could not let them run around the neighborhood like the cats I remembered from my childhood, however we intended to give them as good an “indoor” life as we could. On advice from our veterinarian we gave them high quality dry food which as we believed, would provide all the nutrients that an indoor cat should get. We assumed there was a lot of scientific research done to support feeding this kind of food to cats. Everything seemed to be working fine for the first few years, then in 2005 it all came down on us like an avalanche. Peter was diagnosed with feline lower urinary tract disease (FLUTD). This was managed quite well with a prescription diet but in a few months he developed skin infections and diabetes. It was a very sad Christmas that year. Cert got his first FLUTD episode and by randomly checking Oreo’s urine I found out she was also diabetic (she was already asthmatic). A few months later, she was diagnosed with chronic renal failure (CRF). Her coat was greasy and full of dandruff, and she looked very, very bad.
Thanks to the wonderful people on felinediabetes.com, I realized that the dry cat food which was promoted and advertised on TV as the best food you could give to your cat was actually not so good for them at all, mostly because of the high carbohydrate load and low water content. After doing a lot of reading and research, a raw meat diet seemed to be the most logical way to go. The switch was not easy, but we did it, and within a few months many of the health problems were resolved. Nevertheless I realized how easy it would be to make a mistake while using several different over-the-counter supplements to balance the diet. I was also aware of the fact that most of the raw materials used in supplements were from China, India and other countries with a poor quality control and different food safety regulations. In addition there were many recipes (good ones and bad ones) on the internet and in different books using not enough or too many supplements. Therefore, I decided to make it easier for me and everybody else to find out what we feed our cats. Having a graduate degree in chemistry, many years of formulating experience, a husband who is a college professor teaching nutrition and friends working in different scientific fields, I believed I had all the tools I needed to develop safe, simple and palatable Alnutrin Supplements, free of unnecessary ingredients and the Nutrient Calculator, designed to show you what the nutrient composition of your cat’s diet is.
After three years on home made raw meat and commercial wet food diets, Oreo looks better than ever with her beautiful shiny coat and one could never tell that this fifteen years old cat is fighting a terminal kidney disease. All the cats have a great appetite and Peter and Cert turned into the happy, healthy and sometimes almost annoyingly playful cats – the same cats I remembered from my childhood.
Founder of Alternative Nutrition, LLC
April 12th, 2008