What Does Holistic and Sustainable Living Mean When It Comes to a Cat?
We hear the words “holistic” and “sustainable” banded about in the news and popular culture today, even though their concepts have been around for a very long time.
Okay, so what could it possibly have to do with cats, you might ask.
Let’s discuss first a couple simple facts about cats!
Cats’ DNA is 96% the same as the wild cats out on the plains or roaming our mountains. They are obligatory carnivores and need animal protein, bones and organs to lead a healthy life.
Another important fact is cats are like toddlers, curious and often getting into things. Their nature is to hunt and hopefully find something to put into their mouths.
Now let’s discuss what “holistic” means, what it is and what it isn’t as it relates to our pets.
Holistic practices and lifestyles treat the whole pet just as it does in you humans, body, mind, spirit, the big picture, not just the parts of the pet. 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 evolve things through diet, environment, exercise and mental stimulation before it resorts to chemicals, drugs and surgery.
Holistic has nothing to do with ingredients, there is no such thing as holistic meat or holistic fish for example.
Check out all-natural and organic when it comes to ingredient listings. It is hopeful that the food you eat should be all-natural and/or organic whenever possible.
Let’s start with the diet, us cats are what we eat, just like you humans. Putting your cat on the right diet is #1 when it comes to starting your cat on a holistic and sustainable path to overall wellness.
For my 2 cat brothers and me, eating holistically means the BARF diet aka biologically appropriate raw food or fresh raw food for our feline species and 90%+ animal protein for us carnivores.
We never graze and are used to being fed twice a day and eat everything in 5-8 minutes. More like the way the big cats live! If we are good and not snoozing, mom gives us a treat mid-day, freeze-dried single meat protein!
Here is something that you might not know: cats prefer to eat alone!
Mom gives each one of us our own dining space which helps in maintaining mealtime security. There is always one bully in every pack and mom says it’s me!
Here is another tidbit you might not know: cats are not hard-wired to drink water from a bowl or fountain, and kidney disease is rampant in cats. So how do you get enough water into us daily to keep us well-hydrated?
Simply put ½ cup lukewarm water into each meal, giving us a full cup of water a day. When you put it in with the raw/wet food, it imitates the “warm blood from a kill” and we drink it all up. Our bowls are licked clean.
Sustainability for cats means being proactive about our environment and daily living experiences to help ensure that no accidents occur that could have been avoided by thinking ahead and taking precautions.
It’s also about providing us cats with an enriched indoor life to help prevent us from becoming couch potatoes and getting obese and lethargic.
An indoor only life? Now that is a controversial topic among the humans today. But the reality is there are 25 things outside that can injure and kill us cats today.
It doesn’t matter if you live in urban, suburban, or rural parts of our country, the threats are big and on-going.
Every day mom opens her computer and reads of neighbors’ lost cats, dead cats and stories of cat abuse on NextDoor. Mom always says, if they hadn’t let their cat free-roam outside, none of this wouldn’t have happened.
If the fresh food diet is the #1 thing for cats well-being, living an indoor-only cat life is #2.
To ensure that your cat has a great indoor life, it is important to “catify” your home.
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!
We have multiple cat condos, cozy beds and plenty of toys. And always make sure there is one extra litter box than there are cats. Since we are 3 cats, we have 4 boxes available all the time.
Mom also pays attention to our “cat experiences” to ensure that it is “safe and sound” for us kitties. She says she must poison-proof the house from making sure there is nothing bad that we can scoop up and eat, cleaning the house with organic products, eliminating scented plug-ins as some scents are harmful to cats and does not burn candles anymore except at dinner under strict supervision.
Another controversial area is vaccinations and flea medicines for cats when it comes to a holistic and sustainable living.
We received all our first rounds and boosters of vaccinations, but we do not get vaxed anymore and mom prefers to titer test for immunity. Since we never go out and mom does not work in cat rescue and therefore does not come into contact with possibly infected animals, she and our vet have decided to not give any more vaccinations.
We also are not treated with flea meds though there are holistic alternatives to traditional chemicals available in the market if needed. As always check with your
vet, do your own investigation and then make a conscious decision based on your findings when it comes to this topic.
Exercise and mental stimulation are very important for our well-being.
The key to that is having a second cat! When I was an “only cat”, I was bored and depressed. Mom adopted Beau and everything changed for me. I became more social and my personality opened up. Now we are 3 cats who love to rumble and tumble and chase each other up and down and around the whole house!
And for mental stimulation, mom keeps us supplied with organic catnip and silverline so we can zoom around the house chasing our intoxicating toys! She loves to throw them to us and watch Beau, Bouvier and I 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!
Okay, all fun aside, living a holistic pet 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 supplements, chiropractic services, and acupuncture in addition to all traditional vet services.
Mom encourages cat parents to consider a holistic vet. We love our holistic vet who is a certified traditionally-educated vet but believes in the benefits of Eastern medicine for pets.
Many of you pet parents are exploring more holistic solutions for yourself as well as your pets. The one of the best examples today is the growth of CBD for both humans and pets and the mainstream trend towards organic and non-GMO foods.
As always mom says to be sure to check in with your vet annually for a check-up and contact them immediately with any serious situation health-wise.
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 a vet visit!