Tag Archives: Cats

Photo Friday: Flower Inspector


Those flowers are for Mom, Frankie.

I’m just inspecting them for quality. Mom deserves the best.

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Chris’s Microbiome Report


Recently I was given microbiome test kits, called Insights, from the company NomNomNow in exchange for an honest review. The first test kit I sent back was for Chris and I just received his results. If you would like you can go back and read my first and second post about this subject.

As I said before, the microbiome is a collection of bacteria, fungi, and viruses that live inside our gut and are essential for human and animal life. The composition and quantity of these microbes determines gut health and gut health is largely responsible for our overall health.

According to the NomNomNow website, the microbiome of humans has been studied much more intensively than that of cats and dogs. Nevertheless, I would assume that we are similar but not exactly the same.

I would like to go through this report and give you my thoughts but it is fairly long so if you need to use the bathroom, go now. I’ll wait.

Are you ready? Here we go.

When you send in the sample you can enter your pet’s description on their website and connect it with the sample number. When you get your report, it is personalized for your pet.

I must say that these first numbers are a bit unclear to me, even after reading the report. For instance, I don’t know what the number 17 represents. Chris has 9 out of 17 what? Chris has 2 out of 3 what? I suppose I should be content knowing he is in the average range but I do like specific details probably more than the average person.

This next section is the meat and potatoes of the report.

This shows that Chris has an over abundance of one type of bacteria. If we click on the green section we get more information.

According to the report, Chris has an abundance of Bacteroides, which I will discuss later. The rest of his microbiome seems relatively normal but because there are too many of one bacteria, the rest are equally diminished, with some exceptions.

The report lists the main groups of microbes followed by sub-groups. Below it talks about Firmicutes.

Chris is in the normal range for this group but at the lower end of normal for all of them.

Actinobacteria is the next group.

It says that “Increased abundances have also been associated with weight loss.” Since Chris is overweight, I wonder if his decreased amount of these bacteria is partly to blame.

Next up is Fusobacteria.

Chris’s level of this one is high although there seems to be little information about it. Wikipedia classifies it as a pathogen but that is for humans and it seems to be more related to oral health. Plus, there are different strains so there seems to be no point in speculating about this without more information.

Bacteroidetes are next and one in the group Chris has collected like a squirrel collects nuts.

The description says that “some members of this group metabolize sources of complex carbohydrates.” This may be elevated because Chris is a dry food junkie. In some ways this could be a good thing. Since Chris is so stubborn about eating his wet food, this bacteria may be necessary to help him digest the dry food, which has more carbohydrates. Of course, this is just speculation.

The last one is Proteobacteria.

No report was given for Chris on this microbe. I don’t know if that is because Chris does not have it in his system or if they don’t test for it at this time. It could also be a flaw in the reporting software. I don’t know.

I went through the bar graph at the top, one at a time, looking for Proteobacteria but couldn’t find it. That probably means it is not tested for but it does bring up a problem with the way the report is presented. The upper bars become very small and it is difficult to click on every one. I understand they want to present the information in an easy to understand way but they should also provide something like a spreadsheet that lists all the results in a format that is easy to see.

The report then shows Chris’s Microbiome Diversity.

The diversity is how many different types of bacteria are present. Generally, a diverse variety is a good thing and Chris is about average here although his evenness score is a bit off, probably because of the too many Bacteroides in his system. The good news is his overall diversity is in the normal range.

I am generally encouraged by the report but since I want the best health possible for Chris and all my cats I need to change a few things.

First, I need to somehow get Chris to eat more wet food. It’s not easy. Sometimes I have to scoop up his food in my finger and let him lick it off. This sometimes works but usually only for a few fingers full. It also falls apart when Frankie sees what I am doing and comes over to investigate.

Second, I should feed them more vegetables. Not much, though, Since cats are carnivores there natural diet would only consists of the vegetables found in the stomachs of their prey. Even so, I give them a raw meat diet that only has meat and a pre-mix supplement. I was feeding them both the raw and the NomNomNow meals which contain vegetables but stopped when they suddenly became bored with it. I might start up again and give it to them once every two or three days to keep them interested. I also started adding pumpkin to their raw food. This is a good source of fiber (as are most vegetables) and fiber feeds the good bacteria. This bacteria food is also known as a prebiotic.

Third, I plan on purchasing a probiotic that I can add to their food. I did this in the past and want to start giving it to them again. This time I think I will buy the NomNomNow brand. They seem like a good, trustworthy company and I like that their probiotics are specifically for cats or dogs, not both. I always wondered how effective a one size fits all probiotic could be.

I know it is a lot of information to digest but what do you think? Would you consider testing your pets microbiome?

Our Cats are a Work of Art


After getting an illustration of Chris, I decided I needed one of Frankie and Floki too. Actually I wanted at least three versions of each. I again ordered from alicialucdesign on Fiverr and she came through with some awesome illustrations.

I want to change the header image and I decided to play around with a few ideas. I mostly did this for fun while I was looking for inspiration.

These are just some of the images. There are actually a total of twelve, four poses of three cats. I love the images and I am impressed that she made Floki slightly cross-eyed even though I said nothing about that to her.

So far I am still thinking about the header. What do you think?

Beware of Shopping Bags


My wife bought some gifts Saturday evening and was given a large shopping bag to carry them in. When we got home Frankie was immediately interested in getting inside the bag. So much so that I had to move the bag to the bedroom where he couldn’t get to it.

I don’t know what happened after that. I’m sure Rose probably went through the bag and took out whatever was not meant as a gift. Whatever she did, she moved the bag and set it on the floor next to her closet.

We went out for lunch today and shortly after we returned we heard a commotion in the bedroom. It sounded like Frankie knocked the bag off the dresser, where I thought it still was, but the noise didn’t stop. Soon we saw Floki racing down the hallway with a large bag attached to him.

He ran up onto the table and then down under the table and then into the living room. We tried to stop him but he was completely freaked out. At one point the bag ripped and most of it fell away but there remained a large piece still attached to him. He jumped onto the coffee table and then up onto the sofa where he ran across the back of it and then back down. He then ran into the Florida room. I followed him out there and closed the door. He stopped on one of the cat perches and I tried to get the bag off him but the handle was around his neck and under his right armpit. I couldn’t pull it off.

I called out to Rose, “Can you give me the scissors?!” She immediately got them and brought them too me. Unfortunately, As soon as I tried to cut the handle the scissors broke. I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to keep Floki calm for very much longer but then I remembered I had another pair of scissors nearby so I grabbed those and cut the handle off.

Below is a video of the last part of this drama. There might be some mild cursing so turn the volume down if that offends you.

Floki immediately jumped down and went into the cubby hole at the bottom of one of the perches. There we could see that he had a large amount of drool coming from his mouth. I assumed that is what happens after spending a long two minutes frightened out of your wits.

Fortunatly he seemed to recover quick and was napping next to me not long after the incidence.

Bag handles are very dangerous for cats. I have known this for a long time. Probably since Chris was young and almost got stuck in a bag handle.

At the time I thought it was funny but if it happens when nobody is around it could be life threatening, especially if the cat freaks out like Floki did. If we were not around and if that was a canvas bag it would not have ripped and would have eventually hooked on something and with Floki in a state of panic he might have been strangled. It is a scary thought.

Most of the time I do a good job keeping bag handles away from the cats when I am not around. I fold the canvas bags so they are not an enticement and I cut the handles off the paper bags I get at whole foods if they don’t go to the trash or recycling right away. Sometimes I do let them play but only if I am there watching.

On a side note, you may be wondering about the video. I saw this camera on Amazon on sale for under $20 so I thought I would buy it. I wanted something I could leave on so I can check up on the cats when we go to Germany as well as something I can use for security. The camera I bought takes relatively good quality videos for the price but it has issues that make it a bad buy.

It not only saves the videos in a format that my computer does not recognize but it puts every little clip in a separate folder. I can only view them using my phone and if I want to save it I can’t just download it I have to play it and hit the record button while playing. It then saves an mp4 file that has the audio and video out of sync. You wouldn’t believe the trouble I had getting them back in sync before uploading to YouTube. After uploading I noticed the end is further out of sync than the beginning. Lately I haven’t been using the camera but fortunately I decided to plug it in before we went to lunch.

Photo Friday: Frankie Escapes Again


Frankie ran out the door last week when I opened it for the UPS guy. At first he stayed close and dared me to catch him. He even stuck his tongue out at me as if he thought he couldn’t be caught. He was right.

Cat Frankie with his tongue out

I put my phone away and casually walked towared Frankie but he darted off and dissapeared. I decided to wait for him outside so I let Chris out and the two of us waited together.

Cat Chris rolling on driveway.

Since it was hot outside we only lasted about fifteen minutes. I then brought Chris in and walked around looking for Frankie with no luck. I gave up after thirty minutes had gone by. Ten minutes after that Frankie was outside the door panting and wanting to come in.

NomNomNow’s Microbiome Test Kit


Recently I saw on the blog “Cat Chat with Caren and Cody” a post about a microbiome testing kit called “Insights” from the company NomNomNow. You may remember I reviewed their cat food which I thought was a healthier option than commercial canned food. I commented on the blog that I thought the Microbiome test was a useful idea and was then contacted by NomNomNow about doing an honest review in exchange for test kits.

I really did think it was a very useful test and I would like to find one for humans too. I have been learning about natural health for over a decade and I have learned that your microbiome is the core of good health. If your microbiome is healthy, you are healthy and vise versa.

In case you haven’t heard the term before, your microbiome is the collection of organisms that inhabit humans and animals alike. These organisms, which include bacteria, fungi and viruses, perform vital functions in our bodies. In humans, these organisms actually outnumber the total number of human cells in the body. Probably their most important contribution is that they help us to digest our food and assimilate the nutrients from that food. If you don’t have a good balance of beneficial bacteria in your gut, you won’t be able to process food properly. This can not only lead to loss of essential vitamins and minerals but the undigested food can get into the blood and be treated like a foreign invader, causing inflammation and a host of health issues. This can also lead to overweight as excess toxins that can’t be processed by the liver are stored in fat cells.

So you can see why knowing the state of your pets gut health can allow you to make informed decisions about what you can do next to improve your pets overall health. You could also provide this information to your vet but I don’t know how well veterinarians are trained in understanding gut health. Human doctors that prescribe antibiotics with reckless abandon don’t seem to have a clue. Antibiotics kill both the bad and good bacteria and they are often the main culprit in throwing the microbiome out of whack. Often, a general probiotic can help but knowing the exact state of your pet’s microbiome can help you, and hopefully your informed vet, formulate a specific treatment plan. You can then retest to see how it is working. If you want more information, there are several articals on the NomNomNow website that you can read here.

Our kits arrived on Wednesday and the cats were interested in it before I even opened the box.

Floki and Frankie inspect the box from NomNomNow

Frankie didn’t even give me a chance to remove the contents.

The box included three tests kits and a couple of samples of food. This was probably why they were so interested in the unopened box.

NomNomNow Microbiome testing kits and treats

Once I removed the contents Chris became very interested in the box.

He tried very hard to dig his way through. Perhaps he thought the treat factory was on the other side.

The treat samples that were in the box were labeled “Chicken, Nothing Else” and “Beef, Nothing Else.” I opened the chicken and dumped it out for our cats to try. It was basically chicken jerkey and Chris was very interested, which was surprising considering Chris is missing eight teeth. The pieces, I thought, were too big and I decided to break them up after I already put them out. Floki was also interested but Frankie seem only mildly interested, almost indifferent. I guess you can’t please everyone. Perhaps he would have been more interested if Floki wasn’t there stealing his food.

The next morning I saw a large piece of partially chewed jerky on the floor, which was surprising because I thought I broke up all the pieces and I thought they finished eating them all. I walked into the Florida room and found another large piece of jerky next to a ripped up bag. I guess I forgot to put the beef jerky treats away.

Now I have to get poop samples to send in. This has proved to be difficult with three cats. I can’t just pull a sample out of the litter box because I need to know which cat left it. So far, after almost three days, I have not witnessed a cat pooping. Once I get a sample I will write about what needs to be done to prepare the sample and send it in.

Photo Friday: Classic Cuteness


When I fould the photo for last week’s Photo Friday post, I also came across another photo of Tigger, Chris, and Abbey, but this one is dated a year earlier, May 07, 2010.

L-R – Tigger, Chris and Abbey

Chris is on my lap now but ten minutes ago he had his head on Floki. I think his affectionate personality is very cute. What do you think?