Ante up the antioxidants.
Think of antioxidants as your cat’s
bodyguard, disarming toxic free radicals before they can damage healthy
cells and inflame tissues. “Free radicals cause inflammation, and inflammation causes the diseases of aging
and heart disease,” Dr. Hofve said.
Vitamins A, C, and E are good choices
to protect and repair brain cells.
Seek out dietary supple-
ments for senior cats. Cynthia
Rigoni, D.V.M., a veterinarian who
operates the All Cats Veterinary
Clinic in Houston, has seen success
in improving the brain function of
senior cats battling dementia when
given a product called Senilife
manufactured by Ceva. This dietary
supplement contains ginkgo biloba,
vitamin B6, vitamin E, grape extract,
Research fish. It’s a misconception that fish represents a natural
feline food. Some types (like farm-raised salmon) are unsafe to feed
cats, Dr. Hofve said. She said that
some fish used in some canned pet
foods come from the decaying leftovers of the seafood industry around
the world. “It’s a mishmash that’s
high in phosphorus and magnesium,
which can be a serious problem in
cats with a history of urinary tract
disorders or kidney disease.” Some
fish also contains chemicals like
harmful histamines and toxic pollutants, such as mercury, PCBs, and BPA.
Scrutinize fish meal and
fish oil sources. “In general, small
amounts of fish meal included as a
flavoring and/or source of omega- 3
fatty acids in cat foods are not a
problem,” Dr. Hofve said. “Bonito
flakes, a popular cat treat, are fast-growing and they bio-accumulate
fewer toxins and therefore are
acceptable in moderation.” Fish oils
vary in quality, but look for products containing wild-caught fish like
herring, anchovies, sardines, or even
Selecting brain food and supplements may turn your feline friend
into a genuine smarty cat, but don’t
expect him to be smart enough to
solve Sunday’s crossword puzzle.
Arden Moore is a pet
author, and master pet
first-aid instructor who
often teaches hands-on
classes with her cool
cat, Casey, and very
tolerant dog, Chipper. Each week, she
hosts the Oh Behave Show on Pet Life
Radio. Learn more at fourleggedlife.com,
and follow Arden on Facebook
and Twitter at @ArdenKnowsPets.
Say hello to the last litter box
you will ever buy.
Read out loud to your cat. The act of building brainpower is called neurobics.
One easy way is to read out loud in the presence of your cat. “The sound of
your words activates and expands neuron pathways in your brain — and in your
cat’s brain,” said Dale Anderson, M.D., a retired surgeon, author, and founder
of acthappy.com. “While these activities may seem simple, they actually help
your brain make new pathways by exposing you and your cat to new sensations.
Keeping the brain alive is all about making new connections and branching out.”