Ayurveda and Your Cat
CATEGORY: Pet Care
Author: Alakananda Devi, M.B., B.S. (Lond.)
Just like you, your cat can benefit from an Ayurvedic approach to food and daily routine. The best routine for your cat is that which most closely resembles the natural life of a non-domestic cat.
The single most important thing to for your cat’s health is to stop feeding him or her dry cat food. Here’s why:
Dry cat food provokes vata because it is dry and rough.
Dry cat food provokes pitta due to content of toxic chemicals such as ethoxyquin (used to harden rubber) and BTA. These lead to aggressive behavior and fighting. Even high-quality dry cat food such as Avoderm contains corn, a pitta-provoking allergen. Feeding of a mono-diet also causes food allergies and other pitta reactions, leading to diarrhea and ulcerative colitis.
Dry cat food provokes kapha because it is high in carbohydrates, an unnatural food for cats. Due to its unnatural dryness, dry cat food disturbs the water carrying channels leading to diabetes, dehydration and thirst. Cats fed on a diet of commercial dry cat food readily develop urinary stones, cystitis, or even glomerulonephritis (kidney disease).
Commercial dry cat foods often contain such items as rendered cats and dogs, cancerous parts of cows, meat from diseased animals (all so-called meat by-products) as well as sweepings from granary floors. Such foods can lead to prion-caused diseases such as mad-cow disease.
Commercial wet cat foods also contain dangerous meat by-products. Use a good quality wet food such as Innova, Wellness or California Natural.
The ideal way to feed your cat is a raw food diet. However, cats will do pretty well as long as they have good quality wet food.
Caring for your cat’s digestive fire
As a carnivorous hunter, your cat’s digestive system is very different from yours. Although the following rules may sound harsh from a human’s perspective, they are essential for your cat’s health.
- Leave 12-24 hours between feedings
- Do not expose your cat to the smell of cat food between feeding times.
- All food MUST be room temperature to lukewarm, NEVER refrigerator-cold.
- Feed your cat when he/she is most hungry. For many pitta cats, your bedtime is their dinner time.
- Rotate protein sources.
Cats readily develop food allergies and do not tolerate a mono-diet.
- Don’t give your kitty milk! Cats easily develop a severe addictive allergy to cow’s milk.
- Your cat needs a calm, safe place to eat, where they have no fear of being chased or stepped on.
- Keep kitty’s food bowl and utensils very clean.
- Don’t feed old or stale food.
- A raw food diet is ideal for your cat.
- Limit tuna to an occasional treat. Cats easily develop a severe addictive allergy to tuna.
Indoor Cats need access to:
- Wheat grass
- Fresh, clean water, preferably not chlorinated.
- Sunlight, especially in the early morning, to maintain their tejas, or inner radiance. Lack of natural sunlight is said, according to Shri Karunamayi, to cause blindness in cats.
- Fresh outdoor air, to maintain their prana, or vital energy.
Cats love to snuggle, and so enjoy sleeping with their guardians. As long as your cat has no fleas and you are not allergic to your cat, this may be ideal. Train your cat to sleep at the foot of the bed on his or her own rug. Cats may carry giardia, so it is ideal to keep your cat away from your pillow and face.