Category Archives: catnutrition.org site

Duke: 1994-2010

Four days ago, with the help of one of the most amazing and compassionate human beings I’ve ever known —  our vet —  I faced the wrenching, but loving, task of easing my most beloved Duke out of his failing body.  Aside from being one of the biggest loves of my life, it was Duke’s struggle with Inflammatory Bowel Disease over a decade ago that set me on the path to discovering the wisdom and curative powers of home-prepared raw food for cats.  The raw diet cured Duke’s IBD and was the catalyst for the website and my own passion for feline nutrition.

Without Duke, catnutrition.org would never have come to pass.

Duke was doing so beautifully until a few weeks ago. He suddenly began dropping weight and losing his notoriously strong appetite. The diagnostics were inconclusive (healthy kidneys, clean bloodwork, clean urinalysis) but the best guess is that that he had some kind of cancer, perhaps of the liver.

Until last Monday morning, he remained as lively and engaged as an underweight, sick cat could be – still seeking out lap time, sitting with me watching the snow fall, and making regular short Cat Patrol trips around the house.  He was the essence of fearlessness and peace.  He had no appetite, but he was clearly not uncomfortable or in pain. Love and the homeopathic remedy he had over a week ago helped Duke glide through the transition of his last weeks.  I was a mess, but Duke was still Duke. Absolutely undiminished in spirit.

His exit was smooth.  I felt his spirit growing and expanding, then flying, big and free.

He left this earth space much better loved –  and its cats much better fed — than he found it. He was my most important teacher on cat nutrition but he was also my daily morning meditation lap buddy, a tremendously loyal friend for nearly 16 years, and a gentle spirit.  He was the easiest imaginable cat to live with, and still his presence loomed large.  It feels like a lot more than one orange-marmalade cat is missing from our home.

The Duke abides.

We miss that beautiful furry marmalade-orange body gracing our home so much that it’s staggering.  His adopted sister, Nettie, is keeping a close eye on us; like me, she keeps being caught off guard and looking around the house expecting to see that handsome fellow with the amber eyes come around the corner.

Love, however, is an ongoing event; Duke was such a conspicuous expression of love while he was in a body and now, without the confines of form to hold him back, he’s good to go.  I sure as heck wish I’d have had lots more years with that form, but I’m profoundly grateful for the gifts he gave me.

Godspeed, Dukie-boy.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  We love you all the time.

The growing chorus of voices for sane feeding

I’m obviously not much of a devoted blogger, given that it’s been well over a year since I last posted.  There are a few very good-new items, however, that I’ve had the best of intentions about sharing for months now, so here goes.

On the cat nutrition front?  It’s been a year of progress. A passionate and devoted advocate for healthy feeding, Margaret Gates, launched an absolutely amazing and comprehensive website that I strongly urge anyone with a cat to spend plenty of quality time surfing.  The Feline Nutrition Education Society (FNES) website represents one of the most user-friendly, information-packed, and impressive efforts to bring together the collective wisdom on raw feeding I’ve ever seen.  I’m honored that Margaret includes me as one of the many voices of FNES, as it’s a true privilege to be associated with the chorus of voices that are dedicated to educating cat caregivers about the wisdom of feeding cats as carnivores.

Meanwhile, my good friends at PetSage, a holistic pet supply store in Alexandria, Virginia, continue bravely at the forefront of educating anyone who will listen about healthy feeding of companion animals.  Earlier this month, they sponsored a booth at the two-day National Capital Cat Show in Chantilly, Virginia – the classiest booth at the show – to highlight the latest in feline nutrition and well-being. Dr. Andrea Tasi, an amazing veterinarian and one of the most articulate spokespersons for healthy feeding, spent one of the days with the great PetSage staff at the booth talking to scores of cat show attendees about why she uses and recommends a carnivore diet for her own cats and the patients she tends to as part of her feline-only house call practice.

You could have knocked me over with a feather when PetSage asked me to participate in the second day of this event, offering a lay person’s perspective on carnivore nutrition and explaining how easy it really is these days to prepare a homemade raw diet or use one of the growing number of premade options on the market today.  I was astonished at the level of interest in raw feeding at the show and realized that slowly but surely, more and more devoted cat caregivers are coming around to seeing the common sense that underpins feeding cats as carnivores.  Kudos and thanks to the pioneers at PetSage for sponsoring the booth and spreading the word in such a positive, upbeat, and sensibly persuasive way to more and more people.

If you ever find yourself in Alexandria, Virginia, do yourself a favor and stop by PetSage.  It’s a beautiful, large store run by a staff consisting of some of the smartest and kindest people I’ve ever met.  Plus which, the store is home to three of the coolest cats ever- Dempsey, Ripken, and Diva.

Finally? Speaking of cool cats, Duke – the mascot and inspiration for catnutrition.org – just celebrated his 15th birthday.  This handsome furry orange cat-man has eaten nothing but grain-free, vegetable-free raw food for a full decade and he’s going strong.  Attaboy Duke.  His adopted sister, Nettie the Wondercat, will turn 14 next month and I credit raw feeding, Dr. Tasi’s homepathy, and Nettie’s steadfast spirit to the health she enjoys.  She’s had her health challenges for the past 18 months, but the little upstart is sassy as ever and keeping all of us on our toes.

So? Hats off to FNES.  Buckets of praise and gratitude to the awesome founder and staff of PetSage.  Happy Birthday, Duke. Attagirl Nettie.

Catnutrition.org upgrade 4.7

Faithful regulars to catnutrition.org must be rolling their eyes. Within the past month, they’ll have seen yet another overhaul of the site.

I thought I was so very clever a few months back, opting to re-do the site on my own using iWeb, the web design program that comes with Apple’s iLife suite. I love my Apple. I love Apple programs. I live for iTunes. But let me tell you, using iWeb to re-do a site like mine? Baaaaad idea.

It backfired horribly, taking what was a more-or-less navigable site that loaded relatively quickly and inexplicably turning small photos into grotesquely oversized files, hence rendering the site virtually out of reach for anyone with less than a high-speed connection. The whole thing ground to a near complete halt.

Oh, and never mind that it became impossible to print the pages.I love you Apple, I do, but iWeb truly bites for anything but the simplest sites.

But still, Macs rule.

So along came Epiphanio Sanchez, a terrific human being I met last summer at a retreat. Epiphanio is an artist, musician, graphic designer, life coach, and yogi. And an awesome web guy. He runs Pearl Planet Design. I did what I said I’d never do — pay someone to professionally re-do the entiresite. And it’s paid off immensely, at least psychically. Not having to fight with iWeb or Dreamweaver or fill-in-the-blank web design program to update the site. And he very patiently, just today in fact, walked me through the ABCs of html so I can easily update the site myself. I don’t recall when I’ve worked with someone more patient, kind-hearted, reliable, and enjoyable.

Hand-coded HTML. Wow. I get it. I might even be able to learn this.For those of you frustrated with the site’s slowness in loading and other bugs these past months, thanks for being so patient. And Epiphanio? You rock my world.The educational website on cat nutrition that I’ve run for coming up on five years now has always been a labor of love. And as the site got more popular and site visitors increased, I have remained true to my word to never accept advertising. Not to boast, but catnutrition.org has a high rank on Google, and more than a few folks told me I could recoup my costs pretty quickly if I just started letting ads on to my site. But eeew! After all those years and all those email answers explaining why most commercial pet food is dreadful I’m going to let ads for dry indoor-formula food appear on my site? Not so much.

Nettie ponders web design options.

And I never will. But this latest upgrade has been entirely an out-of-pocket expense. Worth it, mind you, but out of pocket nonetheless. And I’m not living off any trust fund here. So after much consideration, I created an option for people to donate some money to help begin to offset the cost of hiring a web designer, maintaining the site, and periodically paying for more bandwidth. If the site has helped you and you’re of a mind to pay it forward, I’m much obliged. It feels a little funny to me asking people for money.

Still . . . I’ve had nice offers over the years from people asking how they could say thanks.

The greatest and most meaningful payback I can get is knowing that more people are feeding their cats like the carnivores they are, and giving them the best shot at a life that isn’t plagued with the multiple diseases that far too many of our beloved housecats are enduring as a result of feeding a diet that has no relationship to what it is Mother Nature built them to eat. Knowing that along with the other noisy voices out there — Michelle Bernard, Dr. Lisa Pierson, Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, and the wonderful folks at Feline Outreach — the site has had something small to do with the awakening on pet food? That’s a heckuva nice feeling. I’m very proud to be a little voice in their chorus for sanity.

So thanks for bearing with these website renovations. And an extra big thanks if you opt to financially help offset the cost.

But mostly? Please, feed well.