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Baking for Kitty: Kiki Nom Noms

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Baking for Kitty: Kiki Nom Noms

Kiki Nom Noms: Cat Treats Baked to Purrfection!

Dr. Patrick ahaney
Recently, a traditional Chinese medicine used to promote joint health in people and pets became the center of a well-publicized sports controversy. Deer antler, the substance in question, is the subject of the pre-Super Bowl scandal involving Baltimore Ravens (that's football, FYI) player Ray Lewis.

According to Sports Illustrated, while Lewis was recovering from a torn triceps muscle in October he contacted S.W.A.T.S (Sports With Alternative to Steroids) to purchase their products, including their "deer antler spray." S.W.A.T.S's The Ultimate Spray is the only liquid product containing deer antler listed on the company's website, so it may be safe to assume that it is the "deer antler spray" (to be applied under the tongue) in question.

The company's website claims:

S.W.A.T.S Ultimate Spray is an all-natural product extracted from the velvet from the immature antlers of male deer. The deer are sedated and treated humanely during the process. It is standard practice for deer farmers to remove the antlers to protect all deer and staff from injury and provide a save working environment. This product has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Modern research has indicated a number of beneficial effects including:

• Stimulation of the body's immune system.
• Anti-Inflammatory activity for pain and inflammatory diseases.
• Anabolic or growth stimulation
• Repair of muscle damage following exercise
• Muscular strength and endurance
• Athletic performance
• Alleviation of anemia
• Anti-aging effects
• Anti-cancer and anti-oxidant

Deer antler contains Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1). The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) report on the substance indicates that "the protein encoded by this gene is similar to insulin in function and structure and is a member of a family of proteins involved in mediating growth and development." Therefore, consumption of deer antler based nutraceuticals (food products providing medicinal benefits) could promote tissue health beyond the body's inherent abilities. Use of a product containing IGF-1 is in violation with current NFL Players Association Banned Substances policy.

Ravens spokesman Kevin Byrne clarified that "the team knew about this report. Ray (Lewis) denies taking anything and has always passed tests." Ravens coach John Harbaugh also showed no concern about Lewis's alleged use of deer antler or other substances and stated that "Ray has passed every test for substance abuse that he's taken throughout his entire career." Upon direct inquiry about his use of "deer antler spray" during recovery from his injury, Lewis stated, "Nah, never."

So, we may never know if Lewis consumed the product, yet his reported link to S.W.A.T.S. generates suspicion. Lewis isn't exactly the poster child for law-abiding behavior, as he pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice in a murder case of two men after a Super Bowl party in Atlanta, GA in 2000.

Why am I writing about deer antlers, IGF-1, and Ray Lewis in the first place? Two of my house call clients inspired me, as within the span of a few hours on a single day, they brought up the media's recent focus on the deer antler issue. One of these clients' dogs takes NatraFLEX Superflex Pet Formula as part of her multimodal pain management protocol. This product contains velvet deer antler powder, chondroprotectants (substances touted to promote cartilage health, like glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate), and other ingredients.

For complete disclosure, I did not recommend this product to my client, nor do I have a business relationship with NatraFLEX. However, my 70 pound, senior, Labradoodle patient having arthritis (joint inflammation), degenerative joint disease (DJD, the progression of arthritis), and a history of cranial cruciate ligament surgery has needed only minimal non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other pain relieving medications (synthetic opiates, like Tramadol) to keep her comfortable, mobile, and leading an excellent quality of life. We manage her conditions with this combination:

1. Daily fish oil based omega-3 fatty acid supplements
2. Daily oral and every three week injectable chondroprotectants (Superflex and Novartis Adequan Canine, respectively)
3. Healthy weight management through a whole food based diet and frequent controlled leash walks
4. Acupressure massage and needle/laser acupuncture treatment

I am fine with my patients taking a supplement containing deer antler provided the collection process is humanely performed and the product does not contain other substances that conceivably could be harmful when taken on a short or long-term basis, as nutraceuticals are meant to be taken over a period of weeks, months, and even years.

So, my patients that are consuming deer antler (either as a supplement or chew toy) will just have to concede their dreams of competing in major league football. I wonder if IGF-1 is banned for the canine athletes of Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl? Perhaps Marta, Puppy Bowl IX's MVP, should undergo some diagnostic testing to make sure she's clean.

Dr. Patrick Mahaney

This article originally appeared on PetMD.com


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Angela Sterner
As seen on CraftPawty.com:

My cat, Kiki, loves when we bake. It's ridiculous, really, because she is never allowed to eat whatever we're baking, but this never stops her from being a very attentive spectator.

Every year at this time, Mark and I go into full on baking mode, churning out tons of Christmas cookies, cakes, cupcakes, brownies, and assorted candies to take with us when we go to parties. Kiki usually takes a spot close enough to the action so that she can see what's happening, but not so close that she gets shooed away. To that end, she has become quite familiar with the boundaries. She isn't allowed to put a paw on the table, but if she stands on her hind legs and balances on her own, she is allowed to peek at anything we put on the table. She shocks me with her grace and balance when she tries!

This year, I decided that I'd like to bake something that Kiki and Calvin can actually enjoy. Many of our friends have pets, and Mark and I love to play the part of the fun Aunt and Uncle when we go visiting, so the treats I made for our cats are actually going to double as fun holiday gifts for our fur nieces and fur nephews. Here's what I did, so you can be the favorite Aunt or Uncle, too.

To make a treat bag, you'll need:

1-5.5 oz can of pate style cat food. I used Friskies Turkey and Giblets because it's what Calvin likes best
1 ungreased cookie sheet
1 celophane bag
1 twist tie
1 toy mouse for each cat receiving this glorious treat bag
Curling ribbon in a color of your choice
Scissors

To create your fabulous cat treats:

Open the can of cat food and turn it upside down onto a plate. (This was the hardest part for me, because I knew I wanted it to stay intact, but it took a while to get the blob of pate to come out of the can).
Once it's on the plate, take a butter knife and cut the hunk of pate into thin strips.
Once you have made strips, cut them again to form small, bite sized pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
Spread the little bite sized pieces across an ungreased baking sheet
Give your cats a few chunks that won't fit on the baking sheet, if there are any. This is akin to you licking the spoon when you're making cookies- letting them sit and meow at you is torture. Mine got a sliver each.
Bake until crispy. It took mine about 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and let cool
Once they're cool, give your cats a treat each so they can test them. Yet again... think about cookies fresh from the oven. Give those kitties some lovin!
Pour the treats into the cellophane bag and secure the twist tie around the top to close it
Tie curling ribbon around the top. Wrap the tail of a toy mouse or two in the curling ribbon before you make a bow. (I do one toy mouse per cat in the family who's getting these. The treat bag in the photo is just going to be for Boris, so I'm only affixing one toy mouse. When I make them for Henry, Rocky, and Ella, there will be three mice.)
Curl the ribbon using scissors
Store in the refrigerator. Since this was made out of canned food, it's better to keep these cool.


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