As I explained on the Home page, I am not a vet. I am an individual with a desire to understand and learn more, and to share what I learn. This is the website I wish I had access to when SEM was alive and we were struggling with the constipation common in kidney disease which SEM had. I surely hope it is helpful to you and your cats.
This website is a labor of both love and regret and while I strived to make it as accurate as possible, new research may render some of the information out of date. To illustrate, it was not that long ago that the existence of the enteric nervous system was unrecognized. My intention is to keep this site current but that is not always possible and life is unpredictable. It is the reader's responsibility to confirm what is read.
I welcome thoughtful suggestions and corrections and reports of broken links, however it is the role of your vet to diagnosis and recommend specific treatment for constipation in your own cat or cats. Click the cat to open an email blank.
We are fortunate to have the internet and if you are reading this, you are connected. We have access to an astonishing volume of useful and interesting information. I recommend reading sites and articles that focus on science and research, not testimonials and rants. Too often we get our information from product advertising. No company advertises negative aspects of its products. The foundation of science is objectivity. Yes, even in scientific research and reporting there are collusions and misrepresentation, but that is the exception rather than the rule.
If you are a visual learner, the web offers animated graphics which illustrate some of the concepts discussed here. For example, there are a number of sites which show, rather than tell, how enzymes work. Good search terms are 'enzymes animated graphics' to see the resultant hits. I just did that search and got 9,320 hits in 0.41 seconds. Even if most of those hits are off topic, we only need to view a few to understand enzyme action better.
Many sites are devoted to explaining, to the average reader, in clear language, how the digestive tract and digestive system work. Web browsers allow us to search by asking questions, such as, "How does the digestive tract work?" Posing that question to Google resulted in 4,240,000 hits! Certainly many of those will be worthless for the purpose but again, we only need to read a few to gain a better grasp of the subject. Since every cat comes with a digestive tract, anyone who lives with a cat has a vested interest. Of course each of us humans has a digestive tract, too, and the principles are similar. If the material in this website needs augmentation, the web can provide it. Or a local library can do the same.
This site does not cover what happens once digested nutrients cross the gut wall barrier, here our interests were confined to gut issues, but there is a great deal of information available on the metabolic workings of the body, both text and animated graphics. For anyone interested, all of Gray's Anatomy is available online at several sites including Bartleby.com. One can search all entries in the book from Antrum of Highmore to the Zonule of Zinn. If Henry Gray had lived longer than 34 years, had he not succumbed to smallpox which he caught from the nephew he was tending, perhaps he would have discovered the enteric nervous system in his century.
Gut bacteria and fiber, both dietary fiber and/or functional fiber, are subjects of intense scientific research just now. The medical world now realizes the importance of this population of microscopic organisms who reside on and in us all, recognizes that they are not neutral players or mere annoyances and that the advantages of proper care and keeping of these microorganisms are many. Gut bacteria have been on the job since digestive tracts began, they work for fiber, and so far they have not taken up other careers.
New products appear on the market almost daily, probiotics, prebiotics, fiber this, fiber that. All product advertising is positive! Before the ink is dry on a preliminary research report, someone is marketing a new OTC product based on that research, whether or not the research has been replicated, whether or not it applies to oral use, whether or not there is any real foundation to the claims for the product. By supplements, I mean products other than the commonly recognized vitamins and minerals. Supplements are not regulated as drugs are other than to outlaw erroneous advertising claims. Advertising copy writers are astonishingly good at skirting the line. They count on our brains to make the connection between cited research and the product since to do otherwise, to state a connection outright, could draw the unwanted attention of the FDA. Our brains are quite good at making these connections. If we read a legitimate research abstract showing positive results for a supplement or herbal mix on the same page as the product description, we assume that the product in our hand will give the same results as the study or the herb monologues, even though this product may not be the same as used in the study, may never have been studied in cats, or in the worst scenario, the container may not contain what it claims.
Wisdom suggests we focus more on educational, veterinary, medical and scientific sites for information, those sites that end in .edu and .org rather than .com.
If you want to link to this site, below is a banner to use if you like.
If you would like to read the contents of this website in book form, you may order a print-on-demand copy by clicking on the book. The cover is in color while the inner pages are in black and white to keep costs reasonable. My original hesitation in publishing a book, revisions as new material becomes available, are no longer the concern thanks to modern technology and services. Now keeping book content current is as possible as updating websites.
You can also order from Amazon! https://www.amazon.com/author/paterickson
Here is the contact link again if you have any thoughts, suggestions or corrections to share that will benefit all readers of this site with an interest or a stake in feline gut health and constipation. This site could not have been written without the contributions and cooperation of many listmates, unwittingly or not, and my very tolerant family, and of course without SEM. My sincere thanks to everyone including you, Dear Reader. Thank you!
“Cats require purity and simplicity.” – SEM