Diet & Disposal

Scrubbing The Gene Pool
Cattery & Communities
Diet & Disposal
Future Plans
Questions & Answers
The "Minx" Discovery
About The Breeder


The Ins and Out of the Nutrition 
Originally, when the clowder ( the proper term for a group of cats) was much smaller, I fed the cats wet food.  I converted to dry food early-on, for the mess, slime, and odor became unreasonable.  Since that time, I have fed the cats dry food.
The daily regimen is...

   1) Fresh Water Daily
   2) Dry Food - Free Choice   (Wal-Mart Special has held them well.)
   3) Dry Food - Daily Treat    (A premium brand dry food
       that is hand-served in a pile in front of each cat.)   or....
   4) Wet Food mixed with lots of water to promote drinking. This is the current choice.
The treat is a daily "ritual" to which the cats respond in ways that would make Madison Avenue advertising execs drool, for the cats all line-up and gobble-up.  It is a picture for all ads.
Monthly, the cats consume, on average, 275 pounds of dry food;
This volume varies by month of the seasons and temperature.  In the Fall, the consumption increases as the cats begin to bulk-up their coats for winter.  Also, during the winter, the cats consume larger amounts of food plus water to compensate for the dryness cause by the greatly reduced humidity. 
The variables in food consumption are fascinating, for it is consistent from one commune to the other.  It is as if a natural alarm goes off to alert all cats to eat more, or less, that day.  While some events are predicable, such as a much colder day, there are other days which defy human logic, but "work" for the cats.  
Further, the consistency of the feed provides an excellent indicator of the food, itself.
As to be suspected, due to the 100% common ancestry, the cats’ digestive reactions to foods are quite similar.  Hence, without nutritional analysis, I see the result of formulation changes in the cats’ boxes.  For example, I once introduced a feed with Carnation’s dry milk powder and I had over 50 cats with loose stools & diarrhea in 30 cat boxes!
Monthly, the equivalent of 240 sqare feet of cat boxes are changed.  This number could be higher... and perhaps would be higher in a clinical setting.  However, for the “barn” setting that I have re-created to replicate the original barn environment in which the foundation queen was born, it is fine except in the hottest of summer weather when more frequent changes are required and done.
Slightly over 20 cubic feed of compacted wood shavings are used monthly for the cat boxes.  Over time, shavings were adopted over clay, which failed to absorb and became slimey in a larger cat colony.  The thought of shavings stemmed from my horse-care days, and further back from my grandfather who was a butcher and always had shavings on the floor.  Clumping litter, or litter with other chemicals has never been used.
Loose shavings which are also used on the floor are useful in two ways: 1) To "wick" the moisture from the floor, and 2) To act as cat boxes outside the cat boxes.  Cats have personalities and preferences; and, like it or not, one has to CATer to the eons of their instincts, or  LITTERally step in ----.  After a while, one gets philosophical about communal instincts and comes to accept and accommodate them rather than attempting to control them.  For this reason, cat boxes are placed where the communities have “voted” with their deposits.
The soiled shavings are disposed away from the cattery.  Wild animals visit this nightly for loose dry food bits from the sweeping, plus of course, depending on the nighttime visitor and its hunger level, the solids themselves.  It is natural recycling at it finest.