Let’s Celebrate National Holistic Pet Day - August 30th
This month we celebrate National Holistic Pet Day! Lucky for us, we celebrate a holistic lifestyle every day – by living it.
Growing up in Los Angeles, mom has always focused on living a holistic lifestyle for herself. It was easy for her to consider that I should be living one too when my over-grooming was getting out of control and it was determined that I had a food allergy.
But before we go on, let’s discuss what “holistic” means!
Holistic practices and lifestyles treat the whole pet just as it does with you humans – body – mind – spirit - the big picture. It takes an integrative approach to treating the total pet to hopefully ensure a longer, healthier and sustainable lifespan. A holistic lifestyle will always try to resolve issues through diet, environment, exercise and mental stimulation before it resorts to chemicals, drugs or surgery.
Holistic has nothing to do with food ingredients - there is no such thing as holistic meat or holistic fish, etc. Focus on all-natural and organic when it comes to ingredient listings. And if the ingredients have words you can't pronounce or recognize - take a pass.
Holistic Approach to Eating
For Beau, Bouvier and me, eating with an holistic approach means the BARF diet – Biologically Appropriate Raw Food – fresh raw food for our feline species - whole muscle meat protein, organs and bones frozen or freeze-dried for us carnivores.
This is our ancestral diet. We don't need grains, veggies or fruits in our food as our digestive tracks are shorter than our canine friends and we can not digest them well. Today there are many raw food brands - and some include a small percentage of 2% - 4% veggies/fruits which is not going to necessarily hurt your cat. Sometimes it is hard to avoid based on the brands you purchase so read the ingredients just to be sure. A few plant nibbles are fine when it comes to fresh grown pet grass and a fresh catnip plant in the house...and both Beau and Bouvier beg for a few arugula leaves when mom is making a salad. Personally I don't care for arugula.
I have to mention that traditional kibble is death nuggets with 6% moisture and cats fed kibble exclusively have a higher incedence of obesity, diabetes and cancer. Choose freeze-dried nuggets as your kibble substitute.
Additionally mom puts 1 1/4 cup of water a day in with our raw food divided between our 2 meals a day - looks like chunky soup - and we lap up everything in the bowl. So we are well-hydrated daily which you all know is a problem for us cats!
If we are good which we always are, mom gives us a mid-day treat – freeze-dried single meat protein like turkey or pork.
Holistic Environment & Exercise
Mom pays attention to the household environment to ensure that it is “safe and sound” for us kitties…from making sure there is nothing bad that we can scoop up and eat, to cleaning the house with organic products and eliminating scented plug-ins as well as not burning candles anymore – except at dinner under strict supervision.
As for exercise, we have a mom who loves to be sure we have a lot of climbing opportunities, as you know we kitties like a high spot in the house from which to view our kingdom! And we enjoy playing on the condos and chasing each other up to the top landing perches a few times a day.
Beau and I, we love to rumble and tumble and chase each other up and down and around the whole house! And this goes on frequently...one of the many reasons to have more than one solo cat! So we get plenty of exercise daily.
Bouvier on the other hand is naked and can't really play rough like Beau and I can for exercise because he has no fur for protection. However Bouvier loves to play with little balls and bat them around the house, throw it down the staircase and run and get it...bring it back up and deposit it a few feet away from mom, and they play "toss and fetch" together for a few minutes...and he will play like this for an hour or more while Beau and I are snoozing.
Holistic Mental Stimulation
And for mental stimulation, mom keeps us supplied with organic catnip and silver vine so we can zoom around the house chasing our intoxicating toys! She loves to throw them to us and watch us 3 cats have a race to grab it first. I usually win! And let’s not forget the feather wand sessions and fishing pole toys…Beau jumps the highest! Of course there are always our favorite toys - empty boxes and brown paper packing materials to jump inside and play around in…and hide! All the better to scare her when we take a swipe at her ankles as she walks by!
Holistic vs Traditional Veterinary Practices
Okay, all fun aside, living a holistic lifestyle also means considering Integrative Holistic Veterinary practices before invasive surgeries, having anesthesia, taking chemicals and drugs, etc. Holistic vet practices include such things as homeopathic medicines, chiropractic services, and acupuncture and ozone therapy.
Four years ago we switched to a holistic vet who is certified as a traditionally educated and trained vet, who went on to study Eastern Integrative methods and practices than can be considered for certain conditions and situations before resorting to drugs and surgery.
Many of you pet parents are exploring more holistic solutions for yourself as well as for your pets. The easiest example today is the growth of CBD for both humans and pets....a plant product with therapeutic abilities and benefitting many people and pets today.
As always no matter which vet you choose, mom says to be sure to check in with your vet annually for a check-up and contact them immediately with any serious health situations. A holistic lifestyle is about “everyday living” to hopefully prevent certain diseases and accidents from occurring to begin with – it is not a replacement for an annual or semi-annual check-up vet visit!
A holistic lifestyle for your pet will also save you money potentially on extra vet visits and/or emergency ones by being pro-active and preemptive when it comes to your pet's food choices, a safe environment, exercise and mental stimulation.