036 The Cat Doctor


Our guest this week is veterinarian Dr. Tracy McFarland DMV, founder of the Cat Doctor and Friends–a cat-only veterinary practice in Santa Clarita, CA. Dr. Tracy is our veterinarian, even though Santa Clarita is a bit of a haul from Los Angeles. We commute to see her, because she’s that good. And we are thrilled to have her with us this week to talk about cat health and cat behavior.  During the show we discuss:

  • The importance of checkups
  • What makes cats unique from a biological perspective
  • Cat dental care
  • Vaccinations
  • Rabies
  • Feline panleukopenia virus
  • The outdoor vs. indoor cat debate
  • Ohio State University advice on environmental enrichment for indoor cats (pdf)
  • DIY cat toys
  • A toy to be careful about
  • Strange things Dr. Tracy has removed from cat’s stomachs
  • Plants that are toxic to cats
  • What should you feed your cats
  • The raw food debate
  • Natural veterinary food and homemade pet food resource: balanceit.com
  • AAFCO feeding trial
  • How to tell if your cat is fat
  • Meal feeding cats
  • How to know how much to feed a cat
  • Dry vs. wet food
  • Flea control
  • Heartworm
  • Listener questions: weepy eyes,
  • L-Lysine
  • Cat social hierarchy
  • Zylkene

If you want to leave a question for the Root Simple Podcast please call (213) 537-2591 or send an email to [email protected]. You can subscribe to our podcast in the iTunes store and on Stitcher. The theme music is by Dr. Frankenstein. Additional music by Rho. A downloadable version of this podcast is here.

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  1. Thank you for this wonderful episode of your podcast. I need more information on the milk protein. I want to try it on my two cats–one is a somewhat-evil CEO and the other one is very nervous. I am constantly intervening.

  2. Great episode. Very interesting to hear about the complex social dynamics within a multi-cat household. I will go home now and squeeze my chunky feline to see if I can feel any ribs! Thanks again!

  3. So our n=3 experiment with our cats and raw food has proven VERY successful. I really appreciated hearing her opinions on cat nutrition, though I will say that we would never switch back to dry/wet food. It’s comparable in cost to the expensive dry/wet we used to feed (slightly cheaper) but has such better results. Her concerns about food safety is definitely warranted, though we combat that with using frozen meat rather than fresh and never touching the meat ourselves (squeeze the tube into glass container, mix with spoon, keeping all materials clean). Our three cats all have had problems that have either lessened or disappeared altogether after switching to raw (throwing up after eating, regular hairballs, scooting, loose/god-awful-smelly stool, crystals in urine, slight overweight issue) and their energy and “joie de vive” just about shot through the roof. If anyone’s interested in trying out raw, here’s the recipe we use.

    1 lb ground turkey, 85% lean (frozen “tubes”, thawed as needed)
    1 tsp bonemeal powder (Now Foods brand)
    1 tsp liver powder (Now Foods brand)
    1 tsp greens powder (Ark Naturals brand)
    A few squirts of salmon oil (we just got it from Petco)

    This is all mixed ahead of time. Before they eat we mix in three scoops (one for each cat) of Life Extension’s Cat Mix multivitamin powder.

    One pound lasts three meals for our three cats, and we feed them twice a day (Bravo Raw Diet has a good calculator on their website for serving sizes). Also always switch cats over from commercial food slowly! The recipe is loosely based on the recipe found here: http://www.allthebestpetcare.com/home-prepared-diets-for-dogs-and-cats/

    I realize that Dr. McFarland would probably disagree with this method but it has worked SO well for us.

  4. Very informative podcast.
    I’m afraid my Simon doesn’t have a waist anymore.

    When I got my two lads from the Humane society I had planned to transition them to a raw food diet, but they had other ideas. I still haven’t been able to get them to a total wet food diet and I believe that’s part of Simon’s weight issue.
    A few years ago a had a kitty who became diabetic, a very brittle one, we had a lot of trouble stabilizing his blood sugars. As soon as we got him off all dry food he no longer needed insulin. So I started educating myself about dry food and I don’t believe it’s good for cats.
    Of course my kitties disagree with me.

    About cat behavior, I have an excellent book that really helps me get into their little brains.
    The Cat Whisperer by Mieshelle Nagelschneider. It was really helpful in my quest to get Simon more active

  5. The podcast has given me ideas to help my ‘curses like a sailor’ Stella. It’s not her body language that upsets the other cats-it’s her growling. And screaming. It’s a vicious cycle but now I’m hoping it can be slowed down at least!

    Thanks to ya’ll and Dr McFarland!

  6. Pingback: 046 Caring for Older Cats | Root Simple

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