March 30, 2013

True Nature of Cats

(This is a cat post, so if you're not a cat person, feel free to skip over it!)

I have to say, when I was asked to do this Purina ONE trip, I was a little unsure about agreeing to write four posts about it, because I *hate* reading blogs that sound like big advertisements for companies. (I actually turn down a lot of opportunities for that very reason).

But Purina ONE told me that I didn't have to rave about their food; I could write about things I learned or whatever interested me, so that's why I agreed to do it. I LOVED the experience, and I hope that shines through on these posts--I'm always honest about my opinions of products and things, and this isn't any different.

So anyways, on Thursday morning, I met the other bloggers (I think there were about 12 of us) in the hotel lobby at 8:30, so we could take a bus to the Purina ONE headquarters. I was starving, because I knew we'd have breakfast there, and I didn't eat at the hotel.

I was surprised at the size of the headquarters--I think there were three buildings, and definitely a lot of property. They even have a dog park there for employees to bring their dogs to work! Lots of employees bring their dogs and/or cats to work every day. Needless to say, the employees are big pet lovers. It was fun to talk about cats, and not have people roll their eyes at the "crazy cat lady" ;)

There are even a couple of cats that live in the building, and they were SO friendly...

We went in a conference room and had breakfast while we listened to a presentation about the True Nature of Cats movement. It was fascinating!  The whole point of the True Nature of Cats movement is to bring your cat back to "nature", and make his/her life as a pet as close to the natural life of a wild cat as possible.

Purina ONE sent experts to Africa to study the African Wildcat and learn the cats' habits, and then did what they could to recreate that in pets. I'm going to be writing about this in four separate posts, so I'm going to break it down into different segments. Since Purina ONE is a pet food company, obviously they want us to switch our cats to their brand of food. So I'll write about feeding habits on this first post.

Some interesting things I learned about feeding:

*When you put water in a bowl for your cat, she can't smell or see it; sometimes, you may find your cat putting her paw in the water or putting toys or food in the water. This is to gauge the depth level of the water, or see if there is even water in the bowl. A lot of cats actually prefer running water, and there are special fountains you can get for your cat for this purpose.
This is an example of one of the fountains--the water
comes out of the top and flows down to the bowl and

*Food shouldn't be served in a bowl, but rather on a flat dish. Cats' whiskers are very sensitive, and when their whiskers touch the sides of a bowl, it can cause "whisker stress". 

*Food dishes should be placed out away from a wall or corner, because in nature, cats like to be able to see what is happening around them, so they don't allow predators to sneak up on them. If their bowl is facing a wall or corner, then they may feel on edge while eating.

*Cats like to graze throughout the day. If you have just one cat, the best way to feed her is to measure out a bowl of food in the morning, and leave it out for her to come and go as she pleases. I haven't figured out what to do with FOUR cats just yet ;) We learned about puzzle feeders, which I'll talk about in another post, and I think that may help Chandler slow down his eating.
An example of a puzzle feeder--you place a few pieces
of kibble in each cup, and the cats have to reach in and
pull it out with their paws. This makes them "work for"
their food, like they do in nature.

*In nature, cats don't drink much water, because the prey that they eat has enough moisture to keep them hydrated. You can simulate this at home by feeding your cat wet food, or a combination of wet and dry food.

*During a Q&A session with a nutritionist and veterinarian, someone asked about feeding a raw diet to cats. The nutritionist strongly discouraged this, for a couple of reasons. First, you don't know if the meat is contaminated, so there is a safety issue. But also, and this never occurred to me before, cats aren't getting the right balance they need--usually, people who feed their pets a raw diet use the typical chicken breasts and other cuts of meat that people eat. But in the wild, cats don't just eat a nice, clean chicken breast. They eat all the gross parts of their prey, including the head!  

*When cats are spayed or neutered, their hormones change, which can slow their metabolism and cause weight gain. Purina ONE has a food formula called Healthy Metabolism, which has a higher protein content and lower fat and carbs to counterbalance the dropping metabolism. I'm switching my cats over to this in the hopes that Chandler can drop some pounds! (I'm also giving away coupons for a FREE bag of it, which I'll detail below).
I'd say Chandler's metabolism could certainly use some work!

Purina ONE sent me a package of toys, and puzzle feeders and stuff like that to try out, as well as some coupons for free food. They ALSO sent a second box (identical to mine) for me to give away however I choose. I've been putting some thought into how to do this creatively, and my mom had a great suggestion: a cat photo contest!

For the first three posts (this post is number one), I will give away a coupon for a free bag of food ($13.99 value). For the final post, I will give away the box of cat goodies. Here is how it will work: on each post, I will give you a photo topic, and if you want to enter to win the giveaway, you e-mail me a photo of your cat pertaining to the topic. Then, I am going to have Noah and Eli choose their favorite photo from the submissions, and that person will win the free food.

On the fourth week, I will post the previous three winning pictures (one winner for each week); and I will let all of my readers vote for which cat should win the box of goodies. Sound good?

So for today, here is all you need to do: To win a free bag of Purina ONE Healthy Metabolism food, e-mail me a photo of your cat--the topic is "sleepy". Basically, just pictures of your cats looking adorable or funny or awkward while sleeping.
Good thing Phoebe is disqualified for being my own cat,
because she would win, hands-down!
My e-mail address is SlimKatie (at) runsforcookies (dot) com. Important: Make sure you use the subject "Sleepy Cat" when you send your e-mail (and include your cat's name). Only ONE photo per person, please (not a collage). I will accept submissions until Thursday, April 4th at 4:00 PM EST.  (And remember, the contest is just about fun--you don't need stellar photography skills! My 7- and 8-year old boys are the judges, if that tells you anything.)

You can find out more about the True Nature of Cats movement on Facebook and on the Purina ONE website. (If you consider yourself a "cat person", definitely check out the Purina ONE site--I spent a couple of hours watching all the videos, because they're so interesting!)

(Disclaimer: Purina ONE provided my travel expenses and a box of cat toys/food in exchange for my thoughts on their True Nature of Cats movement. As always, all opinions are my own.)


  1. I love the picture of Chandler!It was great meeting you :)

  2. Thanks for posting this info! Now I understand all the strange things my cats do.

  3. I'm not a cat person at all and I'm also allergic to them but found your first cat post very interesting and am looking forward to the other cat posts.

  4. I feed my dog exclusively out of puzzle toys and I'll never go back. My cat is low energy so she just eats out of a bowl, but I could see a puzzle toy feeder being cool for a high energy cat who needs some more activities to spend her energy on.

  5. I have two cats, one of which will only drink water by putting his paw in the dish and licking the water off (he does it with food sometimes, too). Everyone who witnesses this comments on how weird it is, but I guess it isn't that weird, after all!

    I had considered trying that new food for my one cat (she's getting quite chubby), but the other cat is in renal failure. Even though he is on a special diet, he is constantly sneaking bites of the other cat's food, and he is supposed to be on low protein. I'd rather keep him alive than try to keep her skinny. I do feed her Purina One, though...the indoor formula.

  6. Hi... I've been reading your blog for a month or so. Your posts are always interesting and fun to read. Being a cat person, I really liked this one. I always wondered why my cat dipped her paw in her water bowl. Now I know. :)

    1. Mine too! I always thought he thought the water was dirty. Surprise! Just another example of how he thinks he's a tiger.

  7. Very interesting facts about a cat's eating habits. I switched my cats to their Healthy Metabolism food last week. I'm hoping my 16 lb. Opie will shed a few pounds. :)

  8. I have so many pictures of my cats it was hard to choose! I had no clue I should have their food out in the open. I might have to find a new place to put it! I look forward to your other posts about cats.

  9. I'm already a faithful One user. I buy the urinary tract health formula for both cats after a very expensive surgery for one of them.

    I learned several things today and am looking forward to the other three posts.

    off to find sleepy cats photos. . .

  10. Very interesting! I have noticed with Johnny that he really wants to 'graze' all day, but he can't help himself and eats it all by noon. He gets his wet food in the evening and I will change that to a little plate :) Good information!

  11. I never knew that about the them not being able to see or smell the water. We got a kitten last summer and she has never drunk out of her water bowl! We have a drip in one of our bathtubs, and she gets her water from there. WE started leaving one of our kids' bath toys there to collect the water, so she goes there to drink. I still fill her water bowl, but usually she spills it all over the place. I feed my cat Blue Buffalo cat food. I don't know much about Purina food, but I did a lot of reading on some brands of cat food and they put a lot of other stuff in the food, like corn products, that are supposed to cause obesity. Everyone I know with a cat has a cat that is very overweight, and they tend to feed them the cheaper food like friskies or whatever. Our cat is almost a year old, and she is so healthy. The vet comments on how silky her fur is and how shiny. I can't leave food out for her though. For whatever reason if I do that, she will gobble it down and puke it all up, so I feed her twice a day, half her food in the morning, and again in the evening. I had another cat for over 12 years, he was never overweight and he just grazed throughout the day. I wish my kitty now was like that. She wakes me up every morning screaming for food and I know if I left it out she would just pig out all day long. lol

  12. oh im so a cat lover, i love this, i cant wait for the others. ill find a funny pic of one of my cats sleeping and email it over. :)

  13. Michelle FrostMarch 31, 2013

    This is so interesting. Can't wait for more posts on kittys :)

  14. I love the cat blog! I learned something from it... I never knew cats can't see the water. I knew there must be some reason my cat prefers to drink from the sink, though. Also, I'm glad to see there is a food that can help with their metabolism. My cat has really porked up since she was fixed. My previous cat did, too. I'm going to try the Healthy Metabolism on her for sure. Thanks for educating us cat lovers!

  15. I'm a dog person (have also never owned a cat) but I thought this was enlightening. I wish I could bring my pets to work.

  16. I adore kitties, and this post was very interesting and fun. It also helps explain to me why my cats are so weird about their water, lol! Thanks for sharing. I don't have any cute pictures of my cat sleeping or I might enter. ;)


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