Anti-Aging for Cats
- Celeste Yarnall, Ph.D
As we baby boomers incorporate anti-aging protocols, such as organic foods, exercise, and nutritional supplements into our own health regimes, we can also examine the best of these principles and adapt them in a way that is safe and appropriate for our companion cats. These are not just theories, they are the very principals and protocols that were the backbone of my 11 generation Championship Tonkinese Cat breeding program, which through to its conclusion in 2009, spanned nearly 20 years. I personally conducted this anti-aging holistic natural rearing program (on a small scale, and always finding wonderful homes for all the kittens and cats through the years) and have seen first hand what this regime produces, generation after generation, as I personally witnessed the difference between my cats and those born and raised on commercial pet foods, the overuse of drugs, and abuse of booster vaccines. How do I know the difference you might ask? Because I raised my first litters that way.
I was so concerned by what I experienced, that I began my own research and challenged what I was being told by many veterinarians and mentors. I broke away from those tired methods and launched my own holistic breeding program. I consulted with experts, including my friend, Jean Hofve, DVM, who joined me as my Complete Guide to Holistic Cat Care co-author. Ultimately, I came to the conclusion that the single most important anti-aging modality for cats is feeding a properly balanced, naturally raised, raw meat and raw bone based, species-specific diet. This is the foundation upon which all of our holistic regimes rest. The recipes for these homemade foods are found at CelestialPets.com
The goal of anti-aging is to ensure that one’s later years are enjoyed in optimum health and well being. In human medicine, we talk about ways to lengthen telomeres, we fix and even replace body parts that have degenerated. However, these techniques are not readily available for our cats. Kidney transplantation is available, but impractical and unaffordable for all but a very few cats. Perhaps one day, we will see bio-identical hormone replacement for altered cats, biomedical technologies, such as autologous stem cell therapy (harvested from the cat’s own body), nanotechnology drug delivery, and even development of bio-identical replacement organs. One day, we may even see these techniques as common place in veterinary clinics. But what can we do in the meantime? As our cats mature and become senior citizens, it becomes important to support not only their physical well being (flexibility, eyesight, hearing, energy levels and general body systems) but their emotional equilibrium; nourishing and nurturing their bodies and spirits as they mature and keeping their stress levels as well as our own down to the barest minimum possible.
Modalities in veterinary medicine must often first be firmly entrenched in human medicine before they trickle down to our pets. The use of supplementation has become extremely popular in feline preventative medicine, as have herbal remedies and homeopathic remedies. Since cats are such unique and sensitive beings, we must be very careful with the so-called super supplements and herbal remedies which may work perfectly well for most people and dogs, but can be deadly for cats. For example, Alpha Lipoic acid is great for dogs and people but deadly for cats. Resveratrol is also excellent for people and their anti-aging regimes but is not to be given to either dogs or cats. Make no mistake that the success of all supplements and remedies work hand in hand with the species-specific raw meat and raw bone diet of the cat and are primarily derived from animal sources.
Nature has created a wonderful plan where each gland and organ found in the prey animal nourishes the corresponding system in both our dogs and cats. Our cats natural diet of fresh raw prey which they eat in their wild environment serves as the recycling plant for the cat. In other words, the prey animal processes by eating what the cat, an obligate carnivore needs nutritionally and when the cat consumes the prey, she gets these nutrients second hand. The carnivores therefore naturally, for the most part, eat the vegetarian animals. We look to these animal sources to round out the diet when we make it at home, from scratch in our own kitchens. See my Care2 Celestial Musings blog on this topic for instructions on how to prepare your cat’s food. Simply giving supplements with commercial pet food from bags and cans is no different from eating Big Macs and swallowing vitamins with a Diet Coke! We all know better than that, but if your vet tells you to feed out of this bag or can, most people follow like sheep (even though vets know next to nothing about diet and nutrition other than what pet food companies tell them) rather than do some research, to see how other well informed cat guardians make their cat food themselves – something I have been doing and teaching others to do for over 20 years. I even formulated a line of supplements because there was nothing specifically formulated for homemade food. I call them Celestial Pets Supplements and this I did first of all for my own cats and then to share with others since they did not exist in the marketplace.
What causes our cats to age?
In a word, inflammation. Current research points to chronic inflammation as the major cause of many, if not most chronic and degenerative diseases as well as other features of aging, such as liver disease, diabetes, arthritis, and even cancer. However, inflammation is also the body’s primary defensive and healing mechanism. Trauma, toxins, allergens, and infectious organisms all trigger inflammation. On one hand, that’s a good thing. If inflammation didn’t happen, wounds would never heal, and viruses and bacteria would rampage unchecked. Inflammation is a normal part of living. The key is to moderate inflammation—not too little, not too much, and for the appropriate amount of time. The addition of a cold extracted, organic, greenlip mussel oil extract and antioxidant supplement can go along way to relieve the symptoms of inflammation much better than fish, krill, salmon, or cod liver oil and aid greatly in our anti-aging efforts. My choice is Moxxor as it meets this criteria perfectly and is therefore an anti-aging supplement for cats, dogs, horses and children and adults of all ages, too.
Many feline experts have over the years, prior to the advent of the state of the art new Omega-3 supplement, Moxxor, used flax, cod liver, krill or salmon oil for the purpose of including some essential fatty acids and Omega-3s, into their cats’ diets and I did this too, but since I learned how these oils are all made, (they are nearly all molecularly distilled or esterified – heated at high temperatures, laced with alcohol, solvents, salt, and deodorizers to rid them of heavy metals such as mercury), they are far less than desirable to me now because they contain only two Omega-3s (DHA and EPA) whereas Moxxor contains 18 Omega-3s including one called ETA which is not found in anything else to any measurable degree. All oils, with the exception of Moxxor are impossible to keep from going rancid under the best of circumstances, (rancidity is the bane of the oil industry).
Cooked food products (and that includes the heat processing of supplements) do not track with the way felines have hunted and eaten their fresh raw prey for thousands of years. There are no toaster ovens or vats in the wild to cook their meat or distill their oils, so therefore all ingredients for cats and dogs must be raw or as close to raw as possible in order to duplicate the macro-nutrients found in their wild diet and take advantage of some solid evidence-based science now available for the need for clinical nutrition and supplementation. There is even recent information (which you can read about here) clearly demonstrating that raw meat or even lightly cooked meat is more nutritious than kibble and this study was done by a pet food company. The co-author, Dr. Jean Hofve of my book Holistic Cat Care, is interviewed here by Dr. Becker. Dr. Jean, who corroborates this fact, quotes from our book and is interviewed as an expert on the benefits of real food for cats.
NOTE: A great anti-aging tip for cats as well as dogs, is the feeding of cut up, raw, free-range/organic chicken necks for dessert, as this is the way nature intended for cats to clean their teeth. Keeping cats’ teeth clean and gums healthy this way prevents kidney and heart disease as diseased gums (cervical neck lesions), which erode under the gum line, trap bacteria and infections driving the bacteria down to the heart and kidneys. Cats, because of this condition, start to have kidney disease and can be deemed geriatric at age 7 or 8 years old today! Watch how we recommend that cats clean their teeth. No dental appointments at the vet’s office with dangerous anesthesia are necessary when we use the techniques mother nature intended. See CelesteCats Matrix clean his teeth the natural way. Having had two of my beloved cats die as a result of the anesthesia from a routine dental cleaning, you can bet that I will avoid this procedure whenever possible! This is the best cleaning your cats teeth can ever have.
Besides the benefits of living indoors and being loved and treated as a member of a family, you can take steps to help your cat live to her full life expectancy. We can thereby help guard against turning on potentially dangerous genes that might have been passed down the line to our cats, through our species-specific diet, state of the art supplementation, herbs and homeopathy, and even some new age modalities such as veterinary energy medicine and high tech bio-resonance machines, and much more. We can now create an anti-aging lifestyle for ourselves and our companion cats. See Holistic Cat Care for more details on anti-aging modalities for our beloved cat companions and as always I am available for one on one phone consultations.