While a properly balanced diet should provide your cat with all the vitamins and minerals they need, there are some deficiencies that cats may experience due to an improper diet or a medical condition. A deficiency means that the cat does not have enough of a single nutrient to maintain their body functions and good health.
Thiamine deficiency can cause serious neurological issues in cats, so it’s extremely important to ensure your cat gets enough of it. One way to boost thiamine intake is to supplement your cat’s diet with foods rich in thiamine.
The 5 Foods That Are High in Thiamine For Cats
1. Brewer’s Yeast
Brewer’s yeast can be offered to cats as a supplement to their daily diet, and it’s high in thiamine, containing 11.85 milligrams per ¼ cup. Considering that cats require about 0.33 milligrams of thiamine per day, just a tiny sprinkle of brewer’s yeast is enough. Brewer’s yeast is also low in calories and high in multiple B vitamins other than thiamine. It’s available from many sources as a dietary supplement, so you shouldn’t have any difficulty finding it, and it can be a very affordable supplement as well.
Beef is a great source of thiamine from organ or muscle meat. It’s also widely available in commercially made cat foods and can be quite affordable.
Beef is highly palatable to cats, so it’s often easy to get even picky cats to eat a bit of it. Beef muscle meat contains 0.043 milligrams of thiamine per 100 grams, or about 0.01 milligrams per ounce, while organ meats vary but tend to be more thiamine rich than muscle meats.
Pork muscle meat contains around 0.73 milligrams of thiamine per ounce, with organ meats containing even higher quantities. Pork is widely available and typically inexpensive, as well as being palatable to most cats.
Liver from any mammal is an excellent source of thiamine. Pork, beef, chicken, and lamb liver are all generally easy to acquire, especially if there is a butcher near you. It also tends to be very affordable.
Liver is the highest source of thiamine out of all organ and muscle meats, typically ranging somewhere between 0.18 to 0.38 milligrams per 100 grams of liver meat. Liver is also an excellent source of iron, protein, copper, folate, and vitamin B12.
5. Chicken Heart
Chicken hearts are great ingredients for cats. Since most people do not consume chicken hearts, they are usually affordable and readily available. With 0.152 mg of thiamine per 100 grams, these might be just the right supplement to top up your cat’s meals and provide a thiamine boost.
What Causes Thiamine Deficiencies?
While thiamine is naturally present in many ingredients that go into cat food, it is a nutrient that can be easily damaged by some cooking techniques. This often leads to deficiencies within foods, and it’s not wholly uncommon to hear about food recalls due to low thiamine levels.
These deficiencies within foods have led to some cats experiencing a thiamine deficiency. There are also some foods that contain a chemical called thiaminase, which inactivates thiamine. This includes raw fish, raw shellfish, tannins, rice bran, and raw meats preserved with sulfur dioxide.
Medical conditions can also lead to a thiamine deficiency in cats. Any disease that causes malabsorption of nutrients or malnutrition can lead to a thiamine deficiency. Poor appetite and anorexia, diuresis, and major surgeries that have removed a large portion of the jejunum and ileum from the digestive tract can also all lead to thiamine deficiencies.
Signs of Thiamine Deficiency in Cats
Depression and lethargy
Inhibited or stunted growth
Nausea and vomiting
Wide-based hind limb stance
Kyphosis, also known as a hunched upper back
Ataxia, also known as poor muscle control of voluntary body movements, including walking and balance, swallowing, eye movements, and coordination
Chastek paralysis, also known as progressive spastic paraparesis
Abnormally dilated pupils
Difficulty holding the head up
Thiamine deficiency isn’t overly common in cats, but it’s also not rare. Any new onset of neurological signs should immediately be evaluated by a veterinarian. Thiamine deficiency can mimic a variety of medical conditions and toxin exposures, so a vet visit is extremely important to determine the cause of the signs and immediately begin helping your cat get well.
If you are considering getting a pet rabbit, it is important to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages that come with owning one. This article will provide an overview of the pros and cons of having a pet rabbit, so you can make an informed decision about whether this type of pet is right for you.
Pros of Pet Rabbits
1. They Can Be Kept Indoors
Indoor rabbits are protected from predators, extreme weather conditions, and parasites, reducing the risk of injury or illness. Indoor environments offer stable temperature control, ensuring that your rabbit remains comfortable and healthy throughout the year. Indoor rabbits also have more opportunities for social interaction with their human family members, helping them become more sociable and well-adjusted pets.
Spending more time with your rabbit indoors allows you to bond with them and better understand their unique personality and behaviors. It’s easier to monitor your rabbit’s health, eating habits, and behavior when they live indoors, allowing you to detect any potential issues early on.
2. They Can Also Stay Outdoors
Outdoor rabbits can enjoy a more natural environment, including fresh air, sunlight, and opportunities to graze on grass. Outdoor rabbits typically have more room to roam and exercise in a garden or yard. Keeping rabbits outdoors reduces allergen exposure for allergy-prone family members.
3. There Are a Variety to Choose From
Just like there are different dog and cat breeds, you can also choose from a variety of different rabbit breeds. Some of the most common rabbit breeds kept as pets include:
Dutch Rabbit: Small, often friendly, and easy-going, Dutch rabbits are a common choice for first-time rabbit owners.
Mini Lop: Known for their floppy ears and small size, Mini Lops are usually friendly, affectionate, and relatively low-maintenance compared to some long haired breeds.
Holland Lop: Similar to Mini Lops but even smaller, Holland Lops are described as sociable, gentle, and easy to handle.
Netherland Dwarf: These tiny rabbits are charming and intelligent, making them more suitable for rabbit owners who have limited space.
4. They Can Live in a Variety of Enclosures
When it comes to providing a suitable living environment for your pet rabbit, there are several options available, including hutches, play areas/pens, and yards. Each offers different things for a rabbit as far as space, shelter, and enrichment, so they have their own separate advantages and disadvantages. It’s important to consider where your rabbit will be staying when choosing enclosure types.
A well-built hutch provides a secure environment that protects your rabbit from potential predators. Hutches offer a sheltered space where rabbits can hide and rest, shielding them from harsh weather conditions. Many rabbit hutches are designed with removable trays or easy-to-clean surfaces, making maintenance more manageable. Hutches should be used in combination with a “run” enclosure for exercise.
Play areas and pens provide rabbits with ample space to run, jump, and explore, promoting physical and mental well-being. You can add toys, tunnels, and hiding spots to a play area, offering mental stimulation and enrichment for your rabbit. A play area allows your rabbit to interact with you and other family members, fostering socialization and bonding.
Yards offer rabbits a natural environment where they can graze on grass, dig, and explore. Outdoor yards typically provide more room for exercise and exploration than indoor habitats. Rabbits in outdoor yards can enjoy fresh air and sunlight, contributing to their overall health and happiness.
5. They Can Eat a Variety of Foods
Rabbits can eat hay, pellets, vegetables, and other treats, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding food for them. Hay is a crucial source of fiber for rabbits, promoting healthy digestion and preventing gastrointestinal issues. Chewing hay helps wear down rabbits’ continuously growing teeth, preventing dental problems. Providing hay encourages natural foraging behavior, offering mental stimulation for your rabbit. 85% of the daily food requirement of rabbits is good quality hay, 10% fresh veggies and around an egg cup full of extruded rabbit pellets.
High-quality pellets provide a balanced source of vitamins and minerals essential for rabbit health. Pellets are easy to measure and serve, simplifying mealtime for busy pet owners. Fresh vegetables add variety to your rabbit’s diet, providing essential nutrients and hydration. Introducing new vegetables can offer enrichment and mental stimulation for your rabbit.
Treats can be used as a reward during training sessions or as a way to bond with your rabbit. Offering occasional treats can provide mental stimulation and variety in your rabbit’s diet.
6. They Can Be Spayed/Neutered
Spaying and neutering are essential procedures to consider for your rabbit’s overall health and well-being. Spaying and neutering help control the rabbit population, reducing the number of rabbits in shelters or abandoned. Spaying and neutering can prevent reproductive cancers and other health issues in rabbits. Altered rabbits are less likely to exhibit aggressive or territorial behaviors, making them more suitable as pets.
Cons of Pet Rabbits
1. Indoor Rabbits Require a Lot of Time and Space
Indoor rabbits require ample space for their hutch or cage, exercise area, and toys, which may be challenging in smaller living spaces. You must rabbit-proof your home to protect both your rabbit and your belongings from potential damage caused by chewing or digging.
If anyone in your household has allergies, an indoor rabbit may exacerbate their symptoms due to fur and hay exposure. Indoor rabbits may require more frequent cleaning of their living area to maintain a hygienic environment.
2. Outdoor Rabbits May Not Be as Safe or Healthy
Outdoor rabbits are more vulnerable to predators, extreme weather conditions, and parasites. Outdoor rabbits may struggle with temperature fluctuations, which can cause stress and negatively impact their health. They may have less interaction with their human family members, leading to reduced socialization and bonding opportunities. It may also be more challenging to monitor your rabbit’s health, eating habits, and behavior when they live outdoors.
3. Constraints of Living Spaces
Some hutches may not provide enough living space for rabbits to move around comfortably, leading to a lack of exercise and potential health issues. High-quality rabbit hutches can be expensive, especially if you require a larger size or custom features. Poorly designed hutches may not offer adequate ventilation, leading to a buildup of ammonia from urine, which can harm your rabbit’s respiratory system.
Play areas often require supervision, as rabbits can become destructive or escape if left unattended. A sizable play area may not be feasible for those with limited living space. You’ll need to rabbit-proof the play area, which can be time-consuming and challenging.
Yards leave rabbits more vulnerable to predators, extreme weather conditions, and parasites. You’ll need secure fencing to prevent your rabbit from escaping and to protect them from potential threats. Maintaining an outdoor yard requires regular cleaning, lawn care, and ensuring that the area remains free of toxic plants or harmful objects.
4. Food Storage and Balancing Nutrition Can Be Challenging
Hay can take up considerable storage space and may attract insects, rodents or develop mold if not stored properly. Hay can also exacerbate allergies in some individuals, which may be a concern for households with allergy sufferers.
Feeding too many pellets can lead to obesity and health issues in rabbits, so it’s essential to monitor portion sizes. Some rabbits may become picky eaters, choosing pellets over other essential food items like hay. Fresh vegetables have a shorter shelf life and can spoil quickly, leading to waste. Some vegetables can be toxic to rabbits, so it’s crucial to research and ensure you’re providing safe options.
Overfeeding treats can lead to obesity, dental issues, and an unbalanced diet. Rabbits may develop a preference for treats over healthier food options, leading to nutritional deficiencies.
5. Spaying/Neutering Can Be Risky and Expensive for Rabbits
If you’re going to keep multiple rabbits, spaying and neutering are necessary to prevent unwanted litters and behavioral issues. But as with any surgery, spaying and neutering carry some risks, including anesthesia complications or post-operative concerns. The cost of spaying and neutering can be prohibitive for some pet owners, although many low-cost options and financial assistance programs are available.
6. Care involved
Rabbits used to be considered a child’s pet and typically left to fend for themselves at the bottom of the garden. However, we now know that the care, environment, costs of health care and mental stimulation are more complex and thought should be put into whether this is the right pet for you.
Tips for Caring for Your Pet Rabbit
If you’ve decided that keeping a rabbit is for you, here are some tips for caring for them.
Provide a Safe and Comfortable Living Space: Ensure your rabbit has a spacious hutch or cage with separate areas for sleeping, eating, and hiding. Include soft bedding and regularly clean the living area.
Ensure Proper Exercise and Stimulation: Allow your rabbit plenty of time outside their hutch or cage for exercise and exploration. Provide toys and activities to keep them mentally stimulated.
Regular Health Check-ups: Schedule routine veterinary check-ups to monitor your rabbit’s health and address any potential issues early.
Grooming and Hygiene: Regularly groom your rabbit, particularly if they have long fur, to prevent matting. Trim their nails as needed.
Caring for a pet rabbit can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it’s essential to understand the needs of your furry companion. By following the tips provided here, you can ensure your pet rabbit is healthy, safe, and happy. With plenty of fresh food, exercise, stimulation, and love, you can provide a wonderful home for your pet rabbit. Have fun bonding with your bunny!
Featured Image Credit: Wanwajee Weeraphukdee, Shutterstock
You can get a bunny at a pet store or from a breeder, but you should never catch a wild bunny and try to keep them as a pet. But why is this the case, and what should you do if you find a baby bunny nest? We’ll answer those questions for you here, but if you’re considering keeping a wild bunny as a pet—don’t.
Can You Keep a Wild Rabbit as a Pet?
No. Even if you think you know everything you need to care for a wild bunny successfully, it’s both illegal (depending on the state) and cruel to do so. Because of this, you should never keep a wild rabbit as a pet, no matter how cute they are or how ready you think you are to take care of one.
Top 4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Keep a Wild Rabbit as a Pet
While you might think you know what you need to know to care for a wild rabbit, there’s a plethora of reasons you shouldn’t. We’ve highlighted four of them for you here:
1. It’s Illegal
There are plenty of reasons why you shouldn’t catch and try to raise a wild rabbit, but did you know that it’s actually illegal to catch and raise wild rabbits in most of the United States without a permit?
2. It’s Hard to Tame Them
One reason you should never try to catch and raise wild rabbits is that it’s extremely hard to tame them. Wild rabbits don’t want to live in captivity. They’re used to the wild, and they like living that way.
This means that if you try to catch them and keep them in a hutch, they’re unlikely to be happy. Not only that but they’re more likely to bite and nip, and they definitely won’t want you petting them.
3. They Can Carry Diseases
Pet rabbits in captivity are far less likely to carry diseases you can catch compared to wild rabbits. Zoonotic diseases that wild rabbits can carry include ringworm, external parasites such as fleas, pasteurellosis and ringworm.
4. They Don’t Like It
Do you want to own a pet rabbit that doesn’t want you to own them? That’s the case with wild rabbits. Even if you get them to calm down a bit, which is quite challenging, that doesn’t mean they want to be there. Wild rabbits want to be in the wild, and it’s cruel to keep them anywhere else.
What to Do if You Uncover Baby Rabbits
Often people try to “rescue” baby rabbits because they find them in their yards and don’t know what else to do with them. It’s a pretty common occurrence since rabbits build their nests in relatively open areas, making yards a common nesting spot for them. But just because you discover the nest doesn’t mean their mother abandoned them, and it doesn’t mean they need you to take care of them.
1. Check for Obvious Injuries
Often when you discover a bunny nest it’s because you stepped on or near it or disturbed it in some other way. If this is the case, you’ll want to check on the bunnies before doing anything else. If there are signs of injury then contact your wildlife service department for advice. But as long as you don’t see bleeding or other obvious signs of injury, you should leave them in the nest.
2. Recover the Nest
If you peeked in to check on the baby bunnies, you should recover the nest with the original nesting material. Don’t find your own nesting material and don’t add to it; simply use what was already there to recover the nest. Even if you happen to accidentally touch the baby bunny, the mother will still come back, so leave them in there and cover the nest back up.
3. Mark the Nest
Sometimes, it’s tough to spot bunny nests, and if you don’t make it easier for you to find it again, there’s a chance you’ll accidentally disturb it again. That’s why we recommend marking the area with something like a garden flag. Put it near the nest but not right on it.
4. Leave It Alone!
Once you mark the nest, all you need to do is leave the nest alone! The mother bunny should be back to care for her young. Rabbit mothers typically visit their nests to feed their babies twice a day, usually around dusk and dawn. Let nature take its course and leave the bunnies and the nest alone, no matter how badly you want to intervene.
Now that you know a little more about why you shouldn’t try to raise a wild rabbit as a pet, all you need to do is leave them out there once you find them. It might seem like they need you to take care of them, but wild rabbits have been taking care of themselves long before humans started to intervene.