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What do I feed a Kitten?

Posted on 12 March, 2017 at 6:20 Comments comments (171)

Kittens usually start eating solid food at around 4 weeks of age but still suckle on their mother. Cat food can be bought in cans, rolls, packets etc. I feel that tinned is much better than dry for cats and if possible choose a premium brand and always check the ingredients and check the packaging for wording such as 'Total nutritional requirements for cats and kittens'. Supplement your kitten's diet with chopped or minced fresh meat, fish or chicken but remember fresh meat or fish alone does not supply your kitten with all the nutrients it needs. Give you kitten a variety of foods changing what you give him regularly. Kittens can become very bored with same food day in day out and they may refuse to eat. It also helps guard against raising a fussy eater! Throw away uneaten food. Don't put it back in the fridge to give the kitten later as it could be contaminated by bacteria. Don't feed your kitten dog food as the nutritional requirements of dogs and cats are very different. Your kitten needs fresh water available at all times. Try not to use plastic bowls as they tip over easily. A heavy china, pottery or porcelain dish is preferable. Do not give cats or kittens cow's milk as many kittens are lactose intolerant and it can cause tummy upsets and severe diarrhoea. Specially formulated milk for cats and kittens is available from your vet. Young kittens are like babies, they need to be fed several times a day. Kittens younger than 6 weeks ideally should still be with their mother. As a rule of thumb kittens aged between 6 weeks and 12 weeks need four or more meals a day. Their stomachs are very small and they can't eat a lot at a time. At about 12 weeks they should be fed three times a day and by the time they reach 6 months they can then go on to twice daily feeding. You must provide your kitten with warmth. This is especially important in cold climates. Your kitten is used to snuggling up to his mother and litter mates for comfort and warmth. There are many different cat beds available in all forms and sizes and in a huge range of prices. You don't have to spend a lot of money on a bed as your kitten will be perfectly happy in a cardboard box lined with a blanket, baby quilt or lambs wool cover. The important thing is that he has a warm place to sleep and cuddle up in. If the weather is really cold put a hot water bottle under his blanket. Try to make your kitten's bed snug. Cats and kittens love to curl up in snug areas. Kittens are heat seekers and you are a good source of heat for them. That is why they love to curl up on your lap and they will seek you out in your bed not only for company but for warmth. If you don't want your cat sleeping in your bed for the rest of it's life it is best to let your kitten know what you expect from him from the beginning. Put his bed in a quiet place away from busy areas and encourage him to sleep there and close your bedroom door when you go to bed On the other hand you may like your kitten to sleep with you and that's OK as long as you realise that he will probably share your bed for life. Cats are well known for their bed hogging abilities. .


Posted on 17 March, 2016 at 9:15 Comments comments (147)



If you watched Crufts recently there is a lot of controversy concerning the health of the dogs and the ethics of many breeders totally disregarding nature and the process of natural selection, particularly in breeding dogs for show. I am not saying that all breeders do this, and selective breeding is required when preventing hip dysplasia and other debilitating conditions, I am concerned with the negative results based purely on the aesthetics of the dogs in this type of practice. I have recently seen some articles on the problems of the wrinkle dogs, known as Shar Pei, needing corrective surgery to raise the folds over their eyes in order for them to see properly.

Nature determines traits that are beneficial e.g. body shape, eye colour etc. to be passed on in a survival of the fittest natural selection. However, inbreeding is used in order to produce puppies with a desired trait especially in appearance which increases the chances of genetic defect, for example deafness and heart problems and many more genetic defects. When choosing a puppy from a breeder always ask to see the parents and papers and veterinary certificates given to say that the parents have been checked for common hereditary defects.

Never go to a puppy mill as they are commercial dog-breeding facilities that are only interested in profit and not the health and welfare of the dogs.

So we have ticked all the boxes, think again, how are the puppies being socialized during their eight-week period at the breeders? Have I researched the breed and am I a good fit for my puppy? All puppies are cute little bundles but what happens if it grows into a large energetic dog, or has to be groomed frequently. If you cannot meet your puppy and adult dog’s needs, you may encounter some behavioural problems. For example, most gun dogs are couch potatoes in the home but have boundless energy outside and need plenty of exercise, can you meet their needs? This is why so many dogs end up in shelters when their owners cannot cope or are just not liking a huge dog trying to receive his emotional needs from his owner. Dogs feel emotions and give endless love so think before you choose that cute little puppy that could grow to be a giant, or is destructive because you cannot meet his essential requirements.

In 1965 Professor Brambell was asked to investigate how animals are farmed. This was the most comprehensive study in defining the basic needs of animals and as a result of his investigation brambell made recommendations on how farm animals should be kept. He recommended “Five Freedoms “and although made initially for farm animals can apply to all animals and can help us assess if we are meeting the fundamental needs of our animals.

Brambells Five Freedoms

1. Freedom from thirst, hunger, and malnutrition

2. Freedom from discomfort due to environment

3. Freedom from pain, injury, or disease

4. Freedom to express normal behaviour for the species

5. Freedom from fear and distress

Caroline Thomas


Dog Behaviour

Posted on 15 March, 2016 at 4:30 Comments comments (13)

Dog Behaviour   

All dog owners know how dogs are in tune with our inner emotions and in essence our perfect soul mates. For those non-believers out there, Researchers from the U.K. and Brazil have carried out a study and published the latest paper on a dog’s ability to relate to humans. The paper concluded that dogs can understand human emotions and that it is not a learned behaviour, that dogs understand our positive and negative emotional states, knowing how we are feeling by responding to expressions.

I watched a program some time ago about dog behaviour and they did an experiment which showed a woman crying on a park bench. This woman was a stranger to the dog but when the dog’s owner sat beside the woman, the dog responded to the woman’s emotional state and tried to comfort her.

It has been proved that dogs have the ability to combine information from a number of senses, a skill that has never been seen before in any other creatures apart from humans and they really understand how the other individual is feeling.

The researchers showed dogs pairings of images and sounds each of which conveyed different combinations of positive happy or playful and negative angry or aggressive emotional expressions in human’s and also used controls with positive and negative images linked with white noise i.e. neither positive nor negative emotions. This showed that the dogs spent longer looking at the facial expressions that matched the emotional state of the sound for both human and canine subjects. So if the sound and image did not match they did not engage with the image. This cognitive ability until now has only been evidenced in primates and the capacity to do this across species only seen in humans.

Dogs have been selected and bred for thousands of years and have evolved to be different to any other type of animal on this planet. For example, chimpanzees can recognise emotional states in their own species but they cannot do this in other species.

Dogs can in fact teach us a few tricks they are natural experts at mindfulness something that many of us strive to achieve. In fact, most of the dog’s brain is similar to a human brain, we share the primitive parts of the brain that process emotions, the major difference is the large forebrain of humans which allows us to think, worry and calculate and this forebrain stops us from living in the moment.

Dogs are amazing companions, they emphasise and respond to us and we enjoy that loving friendship, they give love and comfort and respond happily to our happiness. They do not judge and want to give us emotional support and they also know within a few seconds whether they have come across a friend or foe knowing whether to be friendly or not.





Caroline Thomas


Food for Thought

Posted on 1 March, 2016 at 6:00 Comments comments (159)

Food for thought



 Dogs are social animals so it is important to learn how your dog interacts with everyone he comes into contact with. Your dog’s world and behaviour within it is not complicated but how he perceives his environment and responds to it is very intricate and the emotional state of your dog is what drives their behaviour. One of the fundamental needs of your dog is safety how safe and secure do they feel in their world. There are a wide range of factors in dealing with dog behavioural issues for example, genetics, parentage, personality, diet, disease, trauma and the environment, and who the dog co-exists with. Before we treat we must always find the root of the problem if we do not we are treating with temporary band aid which will not be a permanent solution.


Dogs are a subspecies of the wolf, there are some differences as a result of domestication but there are so many similarities just as wolves’ dogs have carnivore requirements both choose to eat plant material for both nutritional and medicinal purposes. So dogs are supposed to eat meat and bones in the diet and fresh food is very important for their well-being. However, there are differences in opinions between vets as to their views on feeding raw bones and raw v fresh cooked food for dogs. The jury on this is still out.


Ideally, dogs should eat quality human grade meat as meat used in low grade kibble by factory farms is so poor, such as road kill and another more holistic example would be the negative emotion fed to a dog given food from a factory slaughtered cow that had years of neglect, we should be thinking of not just the well-being of our beloved dogs but also on the well-being of the animals they eat.


This is just an introduction to a series of articles which I am writing on food and well-being.