I attended a seminar about feline nutrition last week at the Orlando Cat Cafe.
The Orlando Cat Cafe partners with the South Lake Animal League to let visitors spend time with adoptable cats. When I visited last week, there were 16 adoptable cats in the cafe. Nine were under a year old. Central Florida is a part of the country where kitten season never ends, so our oversupply of kittens is probably why the average age of cats in the cafe is lower than I expected.
My previous visit to the Orlando Cat Cafe was in their opening week, and they had not approved any adoption applications at that point. They have made a lot of happy matches between cafe cats and humans since then! Being the closest cafe to Walt Disney World, vacationing visitors from other parts of the country have fallen in love with cats and adopted them while visiting on vacation.
Last week’s visit wasn’t just to visit the cats. It was also to listen to a seminar by Jodi Ziskin, the Healthy Pet Coach. She talked about biologically-appropriate nutrition for cats.
Some of what Jodi talked about wasn’t news to me. I understand that humans are omnivores and fuel ourselves with carbs while cats are carnivores and need protein a fuel. She explained how cats have no biological need for grains or the grain substitutes like chick peas that are being added to many cat foods.
She also discussed how kibble isn’t biologically appropriate, especially in terms of getting enough hydration into your cat. She mentioned canned food as an alternative to keep cats more hydrated.
I found it interesting that she said up front that she cooks for her cats. She says it takes about 20 minutes to make enough food for four days. Since that’s an avenue I have considered trying for picky Pierre, that caught my attention.
She admitted that premade, dehydrated food for cats that they would actually eat used to be impossible to find, which is an experience I had years ago. But she also said that has changed, and that people who don’t like to cook like me can feed cooked food that way at home. Watch out, Pierre!
Jodi talked about benefits of probiotics, and I learned that probiotics made for cats are actually stronger than the ones for humans, since a cat’s stomach is more acidic than ours. I knew about the cat’s stomach part, but I never thought about them needing different probioitics than humans as a result.
One of the tips Jodi gave us is something I learned a couple years ago from Ingrid King at the Conscious Cat: sprinkling nutritional yeast on a cat’s food is a great flavor enhancer. And it’s healthy for them, too, unlike some of the other things you might add to their food to try to get a reluctant cat to eat.
When Jodi talked about making cat food at home, she stressed that it didn’t have to be hard. She mentioned the raw food recipe I used and pointed out how intimidating it can be and went on to say that there are now premixes with all of the supplements and dried glandular tissue in them, so all you need to add is meat. I have wondered about these mixes but thought they sounded too good to be true. Hearing someone who consults on pet nutrition recommend them makes me want to take a second look.
Upcoming Talks at the Orlando Cat Cafe
Jodi’s lecture was informative, and packed with great information that anyone listening could put into use immediately.
If you’re disappointed you missed this talk, you can attend one of the upcoming events where Jodi is scheduled to return to the Orlando Cat Cafe to speak about some more interesting topics:
- March 21, 2017 – Proactive Healthcare for Cats
- May 18, 2017 – The Importance of Enrichment and Play
- July 20, 2017 – How to Avoid Common Behavioral Issues
- September 14, 2017 – Integrative Care vs. Conventional Care for Cats
- November 16, 2017 – Senior Cat Care
The Cat Cafe Cats
The cats currently at the Orlando Cat Cafe were especially lively during the seminar, occasionally upstaging Jodi while she spoke. As anyone who lives with cats knows, they are crepuscular, meaning they are most active in morning and evening twilight times. The cafe cats were no exception. They raced up and down cat trees and explored behind Jodi as she talked.
I was especially charmed by a petite young cat named YingYang who through some birth defect or incident has an asymmetrical face. Her nose and muzzle point a little bit to the right, making her look a little bit askew. But she was friendly and sociable, and I’m sure someone will fall in love with her and adopt her.
I’m looking forward to visiting the cat cafe again for more of Jodi’s seminars in the future. While I would love to be able to visit with some of the same cats, I’m really hoping that all of these kitties will be gone to loving homes before I have a chance to visit again, because every one of them deserves a family to love them.