Monday, June 4, 2012

Cat Food with Tranquilliser

I had not heard about this cat food until today. Perhaps I am out of touch. I can certainly see the usefulness of this cat food. Although I can also see its dangers.

The product is Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Calm (a mouthful of a title). It is dry cat food that contains a naturally occurring chemical that is a tranquilliser.

The tranquillising ingredient is described as "casein milk proten hyrolysate and L-tryptophan (that is a shortened version).

Lovely shelter cat. Mackerel tabby & white.
Mendocino County Animal Care Services
Picture above: Shelter cats can be very stressed. Do they feed them Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Calm?

On a forum it is said that the chemical that calms cats is Zylkène. On the Zylkène website it is described as "natural product derived from casein, the protein in milk". I therefore have decided that this dry cat food does contain Zylkène. Zylkène can also be given to dogs.

You can buy it in pill form. You can buy it in the internet in the UK and probably elsewhere.

How do you know if your cat is stressed and might benefit from being fed Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Calm?

Well on the Zylkène website, they ask some questions in the form of a quiz which helps you to decide.

Examples of questions are:
  • Is your cat going into a boarding cattery soon? We know that can be stressful for our cat (and us).
  • Does your cat over-groom?
  • Are you about to introduce another cat into the household? This can cause a change to the dynamics in the house and the existing cats might become stressed. Sociable domestic cat.
  • Is your cat hiding more than what might be considered normal? Cats need places to hide as it is natural behavior.
  • Have you moved home recently?
  • Does your cat soil the home?
  • Is your cat a full-time indoor cat? This is an interesting point to make. Obviously the manufacturers of this product believe that a full-time indoor environment can be stressful to some cats.
  • Does your cat like to perch on high platforms more often?
  • Are your cat's pupils dilated often?
The upside to this product is obvious. There are numerous circumstances under which our cat can become stressed. For the short term, feeding this food will probably help provided the cat likes the food.

On the downside there may be a temptation by car caretakers to use Royal Canin Veterinary Diet Feline Calm as a standard food to keep their cat permanently chilled out. This might be an opt out from taking up the responsibilities associated with cat caretaking.

An alternative is to buy the pills but then you have to give your cat a pill. They say it is easy to give, however.


Dogtor said...

Zylkene is not a tranquilizer, nor is it a chemical, it's a protein. Think of a baby; a baby nurses, and then sleeps. This is because babies digest milk differently than adults do, and the form they break milk down to induces a feeling of calm. Zylkene, or 'casein milk hydrolysate', is basically milk in the form that babies would digest it to, which encourages the same feeling of calm in adults.

Tryptophan is an amino acid, again, from protein (think turkey). By adjusting the ratio of tryptophan in a diet it is possible to increase the production of serotonin in the brain, again inducing a feeling of calm.

This diet is not only safe, but is actually intended to be fed long term to cats (and dogs) with chronic anxiety conditions.

If you would like more information on the diet, please phone the company, they can give you more information on how this diet works.

Michael Broad LLB, ARPS said...

Thanks for taking the time to write a comment. I take your point but I am not sure that I totally agree with you. A chemical is: "of or relating to chemistry or the interactions of substances as studied in chemistry". The brain works on chemical actions. This page is about brain chemistry and inducing a feeling of calm is due to an alteration in brain chemistry. The presence of Zylkene has a tranquillising effect due to an alteration of the chemical reactions in the brain. Proteins are biochemical compounds. Biochemical compounds are chemicals in organisms. Biochemistry is the study of chemical processes in living organisms.

I believe that I am correct at a fundamental level. Thanks for the input though.

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