I Worry About My Cat!

By Margaret Gates




The primary things that cats worry about are food and safety.  Basically, for a cat, that means eat and don’t get eaten by someone else. These concerns explain why cats can be so skittish and why they startle so easily. They know they are prey and quick reactions are life and death. It also explains why food can be such a bonding tool with your cat. Being the one who feeds the cat really does give you a leg-up on being at the top of your cat’s favorite person list. But, what do you worry about when it comes to your cat? Safety is certainly a top concern. Most people cat-proof their house to some degree: making sure the cat can’t get trapped in a closet, walk on a hot burner, topple furniture onto themselves, eat poisonous plants or escape outside. Even for those who do let their cats out, an easy way back into the safety of the house is usually provided via a cat door. We all worry about our cat’s safety.
Over the years, that worry about safety has, unfortunately, come to include food. It’s pretty easy to look around the house, find the potential hazards and do something about them. But, if you feed commercial canned or dry foods, you are suddenly in the dark. You really have no control over the situation. Not a great feeling. We all remember the melamine disaster and wonder if it could happen again. Lax standards, bad ingredients, poor labeling and contamination issues plague the pet food industry. The FDA ignores its own rules on pet food ingredients. There are good products out there, but people don’t know who to trust.
We at Feline Nutrition spend a lot of time laying out all of the reasons you should feed your cat a raw meat diet. It’s the diet your cat evolved to eat. It’s much healthier. It results in a better coat and healthier teeth and gums. It has a high moisture content. Your cat will shed less. Your cat’s poop won’t smell. But, we haven’t emphasized a benefit that may be critical: You can stop worrying now.
Raw meat diets are inherently different from canned or dry foods. Because these diets are raw, they are not highly processed. Grinding and freezing is about it. You simply can’t incorporate the waste ingredients that go into processed foods into a raw meat product. There are no rendered ingredients in raw foods and, believe me, what goes into rendered products is about as bad as you can imagine. There are no meat meals made from the leavings of the meat industry. Proteins from plant sources are not used to try to up the total protein to an acceptable level. You still need to source your meats with care and follow safe handling practices, as you would with raw meat purchased for your own use. But, you get to feel good about using common sense rather than feeling uneasy about being forced to participate in an ingredient guessing game.
I switched my cats to a raw meat diet many years ago. I did it for their health and I felt good about that. But, I soon realized that the relief I felt about changing their diet went beyond just my worry about their wellbeing. That nagging doubt about what was actually in that can or bag of cat food was something that I just didn’t have to worry about anymore. I had made an entire aisle at the grocery store irrelevant. I didn’t have to figure out which can was best. People who don’t want to think about cat food and what goes into it assume that raw meat diets are just going to complicate their lives. The opposite is true. Feeding a raw meat diet to your cat makes your life simpler. Who doesn’t need one less thing to worry about in their lives?
Margaret Gates is the founder of the Feline Nutrition Foundation.  If you would like to learn more about feline diet and health please visit FelineNutritionFoundation.org.  They have a wealth of information on how to feed your cat a healthy, bio-appropriate diet.  They especially welcome raw diet beginners!

Signs of Health

By Inna Shekhtman


Our pets are part of our family! They are in our homes, often in our beds, and definitely in our hearts. And as family, we want to do everything we can to keep everyone healthy.  But how do you know if our pets are truly healthy? Because they can’t speak, they are unable to tell us if they are feeling great or lousy. In fact, as a result of their wild heritage, their instinct is to hide illness as a very matter of survival.

Too often, I have heard pet owners say “My dog/cat is doing fine”. Perhaps from first glance this is true, but this fact alone is not an indicator of health. Many years ago I had a dog named Terra: a sweet, gentle nine-year-old golden retriever. She went to the vet every year and got her regular check-ups and I thought she was doing just fine.  Until suddenly she wasn’t.  She passed away less than a month later.  

Health is more than the absence of disease. Health is a state of optimal being. To ensure that our pets are in a state of optimal health, we have to be proactive in providing them with a balanced diet, regular exercise, and regular check-ins for signs of health.   While your dog or cat may not be able to tell you with words how they are doing, their body provides a lot of information for those that know where to look.  These signs can be subtle, but since we observe our animal companions on a daily basis, we are much more in tune with these subtleties than a veterinarian that sees your companion once or twice a year. Listed below are the areas you should examine regularly as part of your pet’s “health checklist”.



Healthy dogs and cats should not smell any more than a healthy person. The only exception for dogs is often if they go swimming and get the “wet dog smell”. Identifying irregular odours can help us track down a myriad of health issues before they become a serious illness.  Sounds easy, right?  It’s a little more complicated. Because we spent a lot of our time with our pets, and because our noses often acclimatize to smells that we are continuously exposed to, we may actually not realize our pet has an odour. Imagine walking into a house of someone who has scented candles. Chances are the smell will hit you like a ton of bricks, but the owner is probably not even aware there is a smell at all. So you may need to ask others to help you identify if your pet has a strong odour when they come into contact with your dog or cat. 

Smells can come from the following areas:

  1. Skin / Coat: Your pet does produce some natural oils, but their coat should not have a lingering smell. It should smell and feel fresh between baths, and bathing should be done as sparingly as possible (some suggest as little as once a year).  A musky or foul odour, or even an irregular “doggy odour”, can indicate an internal or external issue. Allergies, seborrhoea, gastrointestinal issues, and bacterial or yeast infections can cause a strong musky or foul odour as they often result in toxins coming out through the skin and coat. The odours associated with skin and coat often occur in tandem with other symptoms, such as an abnormally greasy texture, itching, flaking, or skin lesions.  However, many owners first notice the smell and often report that “I give my dog a bath and the smell is back the next day”.
  2. Ears: Smell from the ears can be a sign of yeast infections and can lead to serious complications such as deafness if left untreated.
  3. Mouth: Bad breath is often associated with a dental issue. Bad breath can also be an indicator of a more serious systemic issue such as gastrointestinal disease, kidney disease or diabetes. Make sure to inspect your pet’s teeth on a regular basis. See more about dental health below, under the “Mouth” section.
  1. Gas: Every pet farts, but if your pet produces immense amounts of stinky gas on a regular basis, something is amiss. Abnormal flatulence can be a sign of a straightforward issue, such as a dietary sensitivity, or of a more serious condition, such as a gastrointestinal disease.
  2. Anal Sacs (read end): Healthy anal sacs by nature produce an incredibly foul smelling liquid. Normally, this liquid is only released when a dog defecates or is terrified enough to use it as a defense mechanism. If you routinely smell an odour coming from the anal sacs during the course of day-to-day life, something is wrong. Impacted glands may release at inappropriate times (like when your dog scoots across the carpet), and the microorganisms in an infected anal sac can produce quite a pungent odour.

Skin & Coat


Your pet’s coat often communicates lot about their internal health. Many believe that your pet’s skin and coat really constitute an organ that performs many tasks vital to your pet’s survival. This includes maintaining body temperature and offering protection against external infections. A healthy skin and coat should be shiny, soft and odour-free. Many skin and coat issues are a actually manifestations of internal health imbalances. Common visual indicators are hotspots, sores, dull and excessively dry or excessively oily fur, or dry and flaky skin.



Maintaining a healthy weight is important for your pet’s long-term health and can significantly extend their life. If your pet is carrying excessive weight for a prolonged period, this can lead to joint issues and other serious conditions. Keeping an ideal weight is a result of a balance between a healthy diet and regular exercise. Often the term “ideal weight” is used to refer to the optimal weight for a specific dog or cat, based on their breed, age, and overall build. 


Just like people, the most common reason pets gain weight is because they are eating over-processed, grain-filled diets that are very high in sugars. This translates into consuming excessive or inefficient calories, which in turn gets stored as fat. Switching to a diet made from natural whole foods, as well as controlling their feeding portions, will help your pet better regulate their weight. 




Healthy gums are firm and pink, black or spotted, just like the dog’s skin. Healthy teeth should be white and smooth. In nature, dogs chew bones, which clean their teeth and strengthen their jaw muscles. In addition, their mouths are naturally acidic, which deters any bacteria overgrowth. Please note that feeding a commercial dry diet changes the pH levels in their mouth and digestive tract, making your pet more susceptible to unfriendly bacteria overgrowth. 




The skin inside your pet’s ear should be light pink and clean. There should be some brownish wax, but a large amount of wax or crust is abnormal. Redness or swelling inside the ears indicates an infection or inflammation that may be localized or may indicate a larger internal health issue. 



Let’s face it! As pet owners, we spend a lot of time talking about poop! It gives us an insight into our pet’s inner workings – especially their digestive system. A healthy stool should be fairly firm and low in odour. A healthy stool should not be excessive in size – remember that the digestive system should be breaking down and absorbing nutrients out of the food and excreting the waste. If the waste is the same size as what went in, then how much of that food is really benefiting your pet’s body? Many pet guardians find that the size and smell of their pet’s stool decreases when they switch to a raw diet because more of the food is utilized and less is wasted.


Most of the issues mentioned above, if caught early on, can be managed or even completely eliminated with a good quality fresh (or frozen) whole food diet without additional medical intervention. However, if you wait for signs of disease, the illness has already started to brew inside and the path to recovery is more involved. I’m sure you have all heard the idiom “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. I believe in preventative nutrition, which means feeding a biologically appropriate diet right from the start rather than reacting to conditions when they arise.

Just remember: every time your pet eats or drinks, you are preventing disease, fighting it or feeding it!

Ayurveda’s Perspective of Nutrition


Fresh, Natural and Varied

By Dr. William Pollak, DVM



Ayurveda, India’s ancient and modern form of healing, sees nutrition along with daily routine (management) as pillars in not only treatment of disease but prevention as well. Eating is the transfer of intelligence, the underlying intelligence that all physical bodies must flow to sustain them in time and space. Proper diet in the proper surroundings maximizes this flow of life giving properties necessary for long and happy living.

Ayurveda seeks to maintain optimum health by restoring balance to the individual. Greater balance on the different levels of life gives a sense of greater well being in living. This is seen as greater energy, vitality and strength. Strength (bala) in Ayurvedic terms means not only physical strength, but also vibrant (powerful) immune systems capable of doing its job without being noticed. A natural diet and harmonious surroundings provide the raw materials and a suitable background to incorporate these substrates into appropriate building blocks of energetic form for interfacing minimally with disease in daily life.

Though it is the fashion to think of food in mostly physical terms i.e. carbohydrates, protein, fats etc., Ayurveda sees food as energy incorporated and combined with the energy already in the system. Foods then either can create more overall harmony (help restore balance- food for health) or aid in feeding and aggravating a preexisting imbalance (food for disease).

Each individual is composed of three fundamental principles in different amounts (Air, Fire and Earth; each mixed with water). This mixture makes up the physical and personality layers of the individual. Intimately related, the body/personality is seen as a single unit in constant flow with the environment. The environment also happens to contain the same elements of Air, Fire and Earth as is in physical bodies (but not with as much water). This commonality serves as the basis of energy flow.

These three fundamental substances (Air, Fire and Earth) and their essences (along with water) interweave in the structuring the body, mind and spirit. They are known as Vata, Pita and Kapha. All bodies have all three but in differing amounts and when they are in their proper balance Wellness abides maximally. Maintaining this balance reduces the expression of disease. Using diet, herbs, and daily routine in a proscribed manner according to the predominant body types inherent in the body/personality will nurture health for that individual.

Five Elements:


solid state of matter-fixity

A stable substance


liquid state of matter- Flux

A stable substance without stability


transforms solid to liquid to gas, and back

A form without substance


gaseous state of matter-mobility

Exists without form


field- space in which events occur

Exists only as distance between separate matter

The five elements combine to form three doshas. All three doshas are present in every structure of life, but combining in different amounts they create different structures, physical, emotional or mental. This gives rise to the varying life forms as we know them- species, breeds, littermates and even races, trees and crawdads alike.

Vata (V) —- (air +water)— Pitta (P) — (fire +water) —

Kapha(K)– (earth+water)—

kinetic energy, Nervous System., all movement.

balance of kinetic and potential energies, metabolism, digestion, “cooking”, even if it’s percolation of thoughts in the mind

potential energy, stability and lubrication, tissues and Wastes

Vata Pitta


Dry Oily


Cold Hot


Light Light


Irregular Intense


Mobile Fluid


Rarefied Malodorous


rough Liquid


These 3 Doshas can combine to form 7 Constitutional Types: V, P, K, VP, PK, VK, VPK.

It is this personality of mind, body and spirit that is a reflective microcosm of the surroundings it finds itself in. Balance with its nature is harmony lived. All internal and external conditions serve as life flow (prana) in constituting the nature of experience. Disease indicates imbalance in this flow. All of nature can be used Ayurvedically to restore balance. This includes but is not limited to:







(mostly Earth and Water)
increases Kapha, decreases Pitta and Vata, is cooling, heavy and unctuous. It nourishes and exhilarates the body and mind, it relieves hunger and thirst. It increases all tissues.

(mostly Fire and Air), hot an spicy like chili peppers, increases Pitta and Vata, decreases Kapha, and is heating, light, and dry. Pungent flushes all types of secretions from the body, and reduces all Kapha-like tissues such as semen, milk and fat. It improves the appetite.

Starts out as Kaph and goes to Pitta

Summer Pitta








Pitta to V ata V ata to Kapha

Red- pitta -liver (seat of bile) Mars influences the functioning of the liver and many of the disorders that arise associated with it, i.e.hives, pyoderma, allergies, increased toxins in the blood, ulcers, colitis.

Can cause wasting diseases
Can be involved with disorders of semen, prostate gland, testicles and Ovaries.

Childhood Kapha

Middle Age


Golden Years Vata

Food, Herbs, Music, Aroma, Color, Entertainment, Climate, Social Interaction, anything in the universe can and does effect all other things, this can be used as most effective medicine on any aliment in any thing

Foods; weather; times of the day and year; surroundings and interacting with others (animals or people) all affect the balance inherent in the system. As Bala (“strength”-physical, mental, and immune) grows, the internal stability remains predominant in spite of increasingly changing external factors. This can be seen as greater wellness.

Ayurveda, working through an understanding of diet, daily and seasonal routines, and thought and speech, seeks to maximally integrate external and internal environments, thus making life more conscious of its greater relationship to the world it sees itself in.

Life energy flows through channels in the body (scrotas), from the channels of the blood vessels, nerves and bone marrow to the intracellular matrix of the cytoplasm. In this flow physical substance is created from life energy.

One of the most important life functions in maintaining health is strong digestion, for in the proper burning of food and metabolites, the channels through which life energy flows are kept open. Digestion on any level through metabolism and enzymes (gastrointestinal, liver, cellular, immune, muscular) are reflective of the capacity of transformation of energy and matter on the physical plane. Clogged by improper, incomplete breakdown, these channels get filled with a pasty white substance known as ama. Localized resistance to energy flow anywhere, in any scrota of the body, can result in this ama building up. When life flow is blocked, resistance and strain results both physically and mentally. The predisposition to the development of this material, and the material itself, are the seeds for the expression of physical disease.

Foods lively with freshness, wholesomeness (proper for the species) and varied, give the greatest amount of life force to the individual. It is this energy incorporated that sustains health and evolution of the individual and species.

Overemphasis on the relative quantity of food components and de-emphasis of quality in animal diets has lead to discussions bordering on absurdity. Old, overcooked, poor quality to begin with and highly processed by-products of the human food industry generally form the basis of pet foods today. These foods feed disease and keep health away.Unable to function as designed, the body without the proper raw materials (energies) will operate in a host of disease states. Pushed around by medicines and over vaccination, all sorts of seemingly different diseases can and do manifest. Until basic healthy raw materials (as energy and matter)are presented to the system, higher states of health are near impossible or very short lived at best.

In an attempt to see what would happen to disease if our pets were given a proper diet, a study of simply altering the diet was initiated to see the effect it could have on disease.

Elimination of Common Diseases In Dogs and Cats Through Diet Alone – A Client Report Summary

The results of this clinical study suggest that 74.7% of common diseases in dogs and 63% of common diseases in cats can be eliminated without medical intervention over a period of one year with proper diet modifications.

505 dogs and 83 cats, all with a history of assorted chronic skin diseases, averaging 33 months; 96% having been to Veterinarians, were treated by diet alone for their symptoms by the Pet Health and Nutrition Center in Corning, New York. The diet consisted of natural raw and cooked whole foods and PHD pet food. Feeding protocols varied depending on the animal’s response to the newly introduced diet. 28% of dogs and 22% of cats developed transient digestive disturbances (healing episodes) which were treated by diet and fasting alone. Only animals free of medication during the study are included. All subjects remained in home situations without matching control groups. Results reported were based on client testimonials.

Dermatoses and Suspected Food Allergies:

505 dogs (comprising 31 breeds) and 83 cats (comprising 5 breeds) all displaying classic symptoms of chronic skin disease, were placed on a diet of fresh raw meats and Perfect Health Diet (PHD) in a 1:2 & 1:3 ratio for 12 months. Initial problems included but were not limited to pruritis, alopecia, scaling, seborrhea, hyperkeratosis, with and without chronic biting and licking.

Of the 505 dogs with mild to severe pruritis, and dermatoses 88.% displayed a cessation of 80% or more of the symptoms within 3 months. The figure rose to 91.% by the 6th month, and 94.% by the twelfth month. (note: these test subjects had been off all corticosteroids for at least 1 month prior to testing).

Of the 83 cats treated 78% showed a 70%-80% healing response within 6 months; 80% within 9 months, and 84.% within 12 months.

Gastrointestinal disorders observed and overcome with diet alone:

Of the 505 dogs and 83 cats exhibiting chronic skin problems; 114 dogs and 19 cats also displayed symptoms of gastrointestinal disturbance (parasites excluded), including; vomiting, irregular stool patterns, weight loss and general weakness. Dietary therapeutic management was instituted taking into account all these consideration. The general protocol was as follows.

Treatment was generally begun with a 24-48 hour fast. The animal subjects were then often given a vegetable base broth, followed by raw chopped meat. Other whole food substances like cottage cheese and cooked oatmeal were added gradually as long as diarrhea did not develop or get worse. This raw meat, oatmeal diet was continued for as little as 2 days or for as long as 5 weeks depending on the severity and history of the problem. PHD was introduced gradually several days to two weeks after introduction of the raw meat, until a 1/3rd whole food to 2/3rds PHD diet was reached. Subsequently the animal was maintained on these proportions for the duration of the test. Cats were not always given oatmeal but rather a variety of raw meats, blanched, often pureed raw vegetables, and other whole foods. As with the dogs the PHD was then introduced gradually to the same proportions.

In virtually all cases the digestive tract returned to normal within one to three weeks unless the pancreas, or large intestine were found to have been compromised (history of pancreatitis and/or parasites). In only 3% of the cases with cats and 2% of the cases with dogs was there a need for further medical intervention.

Behavioral Improvements seen on the Natural Raw Meat / PHD Diet:

Documentation of behavioral changes was the most difficult to chronicle and was based solely on overall improvement or the lack thereof, as observed by the owners. In the 505 dogs and 83 cats, a total of 72% said that they could definitely see some positive change based on pre-existing behavioral patterns, including more settledness, greater responsiveness and less voracious eating habits. In many instances the higher nutritional intake restored more youthful traits and playful characteristics in the geriatric animals.

Healing episodes and Conclusions:

The higher quality nutrition, freshness of diet and formulation (predominantly meat in a natural and dry food form) of the “Natural Raw Meat Diet and/or PHD enables the animal’s immune system to throw off lingering chronic disease. The inability to remove disease completely; whether in a sub-clinical or chronic form is due predominantly to the feeding of marginally adequate grain based commercial pet foods. The resultant long term sub-clinical multiple nutritional deficiencies makes the appearance of healing episodes impossible, thus enabling a fertile ground for the establishment and growth of chronic disease.

In a retrospective survey of data from people who are and have been feeding a combination of the foods mentioned, 46% of the animals exhibited a healing episode on the road to greater wellness.

A healing episode is a transient, mild appearance of symptoms mimicking disease without the loss of vitality, mental or physical clarity or strength; with the cessation of symptoms without medical intervention. These symptoms regress on their own and result in the emergence of greater wellness. The symptoms are an indication that the body has summoned enough vitality to expel accumulated toxins through the kidney, colon, lungs or skin.

Healing episodes appeared in both dogs and cats as one or more sets of symptoms in predominantly one of the following body systems: Gastrointestinal, Skin or Behavioral.

  • Gastrointestinal-a transient return of periods of intermittent or continuous diarrhea 8% , soft stools 34%, with or without excessive gas.
  • Skin- a return of a transient period of scaling, dry or oily, with mild or moderate shedding 12%; (more than one episode 9% ), with or without varying degrees of pruritis, indicative of deeper (allergic) disease.
  • Behavioral- a transient return of hyperactivity , general unsettledness, mild aggressiveness, with a mild or moderate lack of owner responsiveness and clarity of learned behavior 2%.During this time period, a surprisingly consistent picture of one or more of the symptoms sets have appeared as a response to the increased quality of nutrition. The initial challenge and subsequent delight was in watching these episodes subside and terminate on their own with little or no traditional or alternative medical intervention.These healing episodes ended with an emergence of higher quality life functions. This occurred not only in the three areas mentioned, but was expressed as overall enhanced vitality not seen previously by the owners. The initial guarded waiting during the healing episode; without medical intervention of any kind was well worth it, and in our eyes an unmistakable indication of the power of the health remaining within our companion animal population, if just given the right ingredients and an opportunity to express itself naturally.Raw meats and vegetables with occasional cooked grain (mostly oatmeal) served as the predominant diet during transition periods i.e. from coming off of a fast or directly after or during healing episodes. Slow introduction of PHD by gradual percent increase in the diet resulted in minimizing the duration and strength of the healing episodes.

    PHD diets are designed to mimic the natural diets of dogs and cats. The manner in which they

    are manufactured and distributed enables them to deliver as much freshness as a commercial diet can

    provide. 98% of dogs and 83% of cats tested showed a distinct preference for the food. As a totally natural raw meat diet is impractical in most households, PHD with its very high meat meal content and delivered freshness without chemicals seemed to be the best supplement to a natural diet.

Monitoring of animals after the one year period of survey (anywhere from 0 to 12 months) has shown no return of original symptoms as long as the natural diet is maintained.

The results of this clinical trial suggest that 74.7% of common diseases in dogs and 63% of common diseases in cats can be eliminated without medical intervention over a period of one year with proper diet modifications and an understanding of the healing process as exhibited through healing episodes. The results are profound in light of the simplicity of the “treatment”. This study demonstrates through a simple change in diet, the profound benefits waiting for our pets in a health- oriented approach. The simplicity of treatment makes the results easily reproducible. Approaching disease from the perspective of health is the most powerful means of eliminating disease.

These statistics have been provided to show the powerful healing effects of diets that reflect the natural feeding habits of dogs and cats. The removal of disease by providing a better diet for pets who are presently consigned to a less than optimum diet is clear and reliable. The improved quality of health as reported to us through the owner participants is heartening and inspiring. It has been our desire to quantify these clinical observations and share this information with others. It is also our desire to more accurately portray the occasional healing episodes that reflect a strengthening of the immune system and overall vitality of our pets.

This study illustrates one of the many basic principles in Ayurveda that touch deep into the physiology and health of the body. Approaches such as these make prevention and cure much easier, by eliminating to whatever extent aggravating influences on the individual and environment.

Until basic healthy raw materials (as energy and matter) are presented to the system, higher states of health are near impossible or very short lived at best.

As providers of health care, remaining in the perspective of health (Ayurveda) is vital while attempting to encourage healing. Delivering health is a most effective way of reducing disease. Getting lost in disease through over intellectualization and trying to keep disease away, even in the prescribing stage, can reduce the overall efficacy of treatment.

Readings in Ayurveda:

Prakruti- Your Ayurvedic Constitution

by Robert E. Svoboda

Ayurveda- The Science of Self-Healing

by Dr. Vasant Lad

Ayurveda- The Indian Art and Science of Medicine

by Dr. C. Thakkur

Visit Dr. Pollak at www.healthyvet.com