a: Oh, that's easy! I'm all about the cats! LOL!
More specifically, I'm all about helping cat owners understand their cats, what makes them do what they do, what they need to be happy and content, and, most importantly, what they need to eat to be healthy.
2- You are the creator of Catcentric.org - how did that site come about? Tell us a little bit about CatCentric:
a: Hmm. The story behind the website.... It all started with a beautiful snow white kitten named Oliver who was, sadly, killed in the 2007 pet food poisoning. I was already beginning to dig a little into pet foods and how they were made at the time, but his death was shattering and brought the topic into much greater focus for me. As I studied and researched and began to learn the truth behind the shiny cans, the pretty bags and the impressive-looking ingredient lists, I became alarmed and disgusted.
I am a natural teacher and so, as time passed, I wanted - needed really - to reach out and tell other cat owners the shocking things I was learning. I needed a pulpit! I tried collaborating with other like-minded individuals and even an organization or two, but nothing really worked out.
Then one night, as I lay sleeplessly in bed, turning things over and over in my mind - you know how that happens? - it suddenly struck me - I'll create my own speaking platform! And I'll share ALL the things I've learned about cats from the species-centric perspective (which was not a popular theme at that time). And I'll call it..... CATCENTRIC!!
This hit me about 2:30 am on a mid-August morning in 2011. And it electrified me so, I had to jump right up and check name.com to see if the domain was available. It was, I grabbed it, and the rest is history.
a: I used to do a lot of one on one consulting for cat owners who were transitioning their kitties to a raw diet as well as owners who had behavioral issues (although the nutritional aspect is the most important for feline health and the one I've focused on the most strongly to date, CatCentric covers all aspects of general feline care). And it became an overwhelming task trying to keep up with all the requests for help, especially as I continued to build out the website. The group has taken that over.
4- You say you used to..... Do you no longer do that?
a: I do still get emails frequently, however, unless it's an easy to answer question or a follow up from a previous discussion, I now pretty much reply with a request that the cat owner join the group and post their question there.
5- You are one of the most fierce Raw feeding advocates I have ever met. When my Bugsy was so sick and hopeless, as you know, I was completely against raw - for all the "dangers" it could impose to his health. Yet, it was raw, not medicine, that saved his life - why do you think people have these fears?
a: Sadly, since 1964, the pet food industry has poured millions of dollars into a highly successful marketing campaign focused on driving home the message that manufactured pet food is GOOD and HEALTHY and fresh "people" food is not. In fact, they've been so successful, many owners never offer their pets even a single bite of fresh food over their lifetime for fear of "upsetting the nutritional balance so carefully created" in the manufactured pet foods.
Imagine going your entire lifetime without ever tasting anything fresh?
6- I often hear comments about the fear of Salmonella, toxoplasmosis.... Or that "my cat has a too debilitated immune-system to eat raw” - i.e. FIV+, going through chemo, or a similar case. What would you have to say to those parents?
a. I understand those fears; some of them I felt myself!
Researching - arming oneself with real knowledge - is the best defense against these fears. Also, you can start slow! Purchase commercial raw foods that have been processed using High Pressure Processing (HPP), a method that all but guarantees they are free from pathogens (a guarantee, I might add, that no kibble product can ever make). Once owners see the extraordinary leap in vitality and health that accompanies this small step in diet improvement, they almost invariably want to take it all the way.
7- Something else we hear quite a often is...... "My cat won't eat raw - I tried everything and it will still turn its nose to the food". What would your advice be for those parents? I am sure you have heard that too.
a. I hear it quite often in fact, and I cringe every time. The truth is - it's not always easy to transition a cat to a new diet, especially one so different from what the kitty has eaten all its life - but every cat can be transitioned. The owner just has to be willing to put in the time and effort to help the cat make that leap.
Some cats take to raw immediately, some can take weeks or even months to transition, but the benefit to the cat in health and general well-being is worth every bit of the time and effort required.
And this is one of those areas in which the CatCentric group really shines - we can be there for these owners every step of the way! Celebrating the break-throughs and encouraging and listening on those days they just want to throw their hands up and scream in frustration.
8 - Tracy, any final thoughts?
a: What we eat impacts us more than any other single aspect of life. From our most basic feeling of well-being (or misery) to life-changing and, even, life-ending diseases, nutrition matters.
Just as you and I are healthier and feel better when we eat fresh foods, so, too, do our beloved kitties. Cats shouldn't be sleeping 18 out of 24 hours a day - they do it because they feel lousy!
I strongly encourage everyone reading this blog to just give raw a chance. If you have questions, you can join the CatCentric facebook group and we'll be happy to answer them all! If you're not on facebook, then feel free to contact me through CatCentric.org. Whatever it takes!
Raw feeding is a hard concept to accept for many, I know, but oh so worth the effort when you see what fresh food does for your cat!
Thank you so much Tracy, it has been a pleasure having you with us today!
a. And thank you very much for having me, Carolina! You know this is my absolute favorite thing to talk about!
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Comments, Meows, Woofs, Paws up and Furrwards are always apurrciated!