Food Puzzles for Your Cat

A very interesting study was published the Sept 2016 issue of Feline Medicine and Surgery. The study examined the use of
food puzzles as a way to provide environmental enrichment for our cats.

Food puzzles are a relatively new area of study, and take advantage of cats’ natural instinct to hunt and work for their food – the benefits it provides are mental stimulation, as well as increased physical activity. There are a variety of styles available, and options for both purchasing and DIY.

The article covers some tips on how to introduce food puzzles to your cat, as well as a chart to help you determine the best starter puzzle. There are also tips for troubleshooting potential challenges, such as owner concerns about night-time noise or having food scattered around the home.

Given time, patience and appropriate introduction, most, if not all, cats can adjust to food puzzles.

Read the full article

CFA Blog Talks to Dr. Andrea Sanchez About Naughty & Nice Holiday Foods

I had the privilege of talking to Dr. Andrea Sanchez from Banfield Animal Hospital about foods to avoid and foods you can give your cat during the holidays.


The first thing she reminded me about was, “To remember that the holidays could be stressful for kitty and to make sure I had a “safe” room where your cat can go and rest.” She explained that by giving kitty her own room it keeps her away from open doors and does not upset her so she is not part of the confusion of holiday visitors.

She recommends to be in touch with your vet for an appointment at least twice a year because our cat’s rate of aging is so much faster than ours, it is good to stay on top of any health issues by seeing your vet twice a year, you can be proactive and address health issues as they arise.  Your vet can do blood work and give your cat a complete exam.  Be sure you talk to your vet about holiday eating habits and whether your cat can eat a few treats during the holiday season.

Here is a summary of naughty and nice foods.  Two foods Dr. Sanchez said to avoid:  Gravy and Animal Skin.  She said that cats are way more prone to  Pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, which can be stimulated by high fat foods. Skin from the Turkey or Chicken are also high in fat and can sometimes have seasoning which can make your cat sick.  The best option, with your vet’s permission, is to consider a boneless chicken breast which has been boiled or poached. Portion control is key.  Take a look at your cat’s paw and give her one half the size of her paw for a treat once per day.  Again, Dr. Sanchez stressed as long as your own veterinarian approves.  She also mentioned that pumpkin is high in fiber and can enhance flavor.


At the end of the interview I asked Dr. Sanchez what made her go into veterinary medicine.  She said, “My cat Tabitha inspired me when I was eight years old, I had a cat names Matilda.  She inspired me.  She was always there when I needed her and I became a vet to thank her and pay her back for what she did for me.”

Dr. Sanchez also talked with me about the work she does in Puerto Rico where she used her veterinary and Spanish-speaking skills to lead a volunteer trip to that country, where a team of ten, spent a week providing necessary medical care for more than 400 pets and teaching empathy and responsible pet ownership to 800 school children. She said, “We have saved over 20,000 animals with our program.”

Dr. Andrea Sanchez serves as Banfield Pet Hospital’s senior manager of hospital operations and initiatives, supporting ongoing improvement efforts aimed at the wellbeing of clients, doctors and associates at Banfield. She has worked in veterinary medicine for 16 years, and has been a veterinarian in small animal general practice since 2007. In addition to her current role, she also provides care for pets in Banfield’s Portland area hospitals and regularly volunteers her time to work with pets of low income owners. She is the proud pet owner of four rescue animals: cats Danny, Pablo and Felix, and dog Frankie.

It was a pleasure to talk to Dr. Sanchez and we thank her dedication and willingness to share information.


Take this Survey and Tell Tufts University Researches What Foods You Feed Your Cat

Researchers at Tufts University are looking for volunteers to complete a brief, 15 minute survey about feeding practices for dogs and cats. This survey will ask questions about your pet, what food you purchase for your pet, how you feed your pet, and your relationship with your pet.


Photo credit: <a href=””>CaptPiper</a> / <a href=””>Foter</a> / <a href=””>CC BY-NC</a>

You may be eligible to participate if you over the age of 18 and currently own a dog or cat.  If you are interested in participating, please click here.  Your responses to survey question will be kept confidential.

National Non-Profit Group Assists Owners and Pets with Pet Food Stamp Program

There are over 50 million Americans who currently receive Food Stamps. Many of the recipients with dogs or cats cannot afford to feed their animals. As a result, their cherished companions are dropped off at animal shelters where they will most likely be put to sleep.

As more families struggle with difficult choices such as paying the rent or buying food; some have to make the difficult choice between keeping their pet and putting food on the table for themselves.

A recent New York Times article states that, “animal shelters have reported a steep rise in the number of cats and dogs being surrendered as owners face unemployment, home foreclosures, evictions and other financial hardships.”

The Pet Food Stamps program with the assistance of generous contributors and patrons are able to eliminate that heart-wrenching decision by making sure these pet owners are given free monthly home delivery of all necessary food supplies to maintain the health and vitality of their pets.

To find out more about the Pet Food Stamps program or make a donation to help those in need.