Cats Domesticated Themselves: Of course they did!

Though everyone might not agree on cats’ perfection, felines are among the most popular pets in the world today, with approximately 74 million cats living in U.S. homes.

The cat has long been important to human societies as a pest-control agent, object of symbolic value and companions. However, recent evidence from feline DNA shows they took their time domesticating themselves.


Article     |     Scientific Publication (Open Access)

The NorthPoint Delivery Jeep got a makeover!

In classic 2020 fashion, online retailers have truly disrupted the livelihoods of small business owners and the communities they serve – this is especially true for the pet industry. Unknowingly, pet owners are missing out on exclusive independent only products such as treats, food and toys. As a result of online ordering and home delivery gaining popularity we determined it was necessary to offer personalized delivery to our customers who have supported us through all these years. Instead of simply shipping items, we opted to instead perform deliveries ourselves providing more control and personalization to the process!

Orders can be placed by simply calling 203-271-0111 (Yes, you can speak to a real human!) or even by going to our ONLINE STORE (please link this). We’ll be happy to hand pick your exact shopping list, or even personally shop for thoughtful treats and toys. Our team is well trained and experienced to make the perfect recommendation to help keep your pet happy, entertained and you stress-free!

Science of ‘Sense’ – how does your pet see the world?

There has always been debate about how and what dogs and cats can see. The reality? Dogs & cats don’t see as clearly as humans, and they’re lacking in the color department. However, they can see movement better than we can.

Learn Something New

One Health Initiative

One Health is an approach that recognizes that the health of people is closely connected to the health of animals and our shared environment. 


The World is changing, COVID has accelerated that change in countless ways. I believe that the unprecedented collaboration between disciplines and scientists from all over the world will be looked at as one of the most incredible feats in our modern world.  My hope is that this collaboration (and open access to scientific literature) continues and inspires other professionals to integrate their practices and their knowledge to work together to improve the lives of humans, animals and the environment. In fact, there is something called the One Health Initiative which aims to do just that.

So, what does this mean for us and our pets? What does it mean for nutrition? The reality is that there are numerous research gaps when it comes to nutrition, and even more when it comes to companion animal nutrition. The environment and how we interact with it also has a significant impact on the health of all living things. Much of the research we rely on for canine and feline supplementation, or management of disease is rooted in human research.

Many medical and nutrition professionals have recognized these significant gaps in human and animal medicine and nutrition. Livestock nutrition is arguably the most advanced of all nutrition sciences, followed by human nutrition, and it is frustrating to see the lack of knowledge sharing & collaboration between those and companion animal fields. This is a significant issue because it leaves treatment gaps for canines and felines such as cognitive dysfunction, allergies, gastrointestinal issues, diabetes, heart disease and more.

The One Health Initiative has provided individuals in many disciplines to collaborate and advance multiple fields of science to study and advance knowledge of zoonotic diseases, antimicrobial resistance, food safety and security and environmental factors. We look forward to providing updates and perspective on this initiative in the future.

The One Health Initiative provides opportunity for collaboration between veterinary and human physicians and researchers to advance both fields.

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Grain-Free Pet Food Diets | What to Know Before Switching

The benefit and necessity of grain-free pet food have come under scrutiny in recent years due to an FDA investigation due to a potential association with a canine heart disease known as dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). As a result of this potential association, many have been told there is no scientific evidence to support the use of grain-free foods in canines and felines, or that these foods do not provide any benefit over grain-inclusive foods. For the most part, grain-free refers to kibble, although some have also categorized various canned, freeze-dried, and raw diets under the ‘grain-free’ umbrella. But are these claims accurate? Let’s find out:


Grain-free foods don’t provide benefits?grain free dog food kible

The pet food industry’s switch to grain-free was not fueled by a problem with the grains themselves or grain allergies like most believe. The largest pet food recalls in history was due to melamine and cyanuric acid contamination of ingredients coming from China. The short version of the 2007 recall is that wheat gluten and rice protein were intentionally combined with melamine for its high nitrogen content. Higher amounts of nitrogen can cause the protein content of an ingredient to test higher than it actually is. Since cyanuric acid was present, and the combination of melamine and cyanuric acid is likely the reason the recall was so deadly – not the melamine on its own. This series of events fueled the consumer trend of wanting grain-free pet food.

Other Concerns

Another major factor absent from the discussion on grain-free vs. grain inclusive diets for people – and pets – is the contamination of grains with herbicides, pesticides, mycotoxins, and fertilizers. This has become an increasingly large concern since the mid-’90s in both the human and animal food supply. Numerous peer-reviewed articles are detailing the disruption many of these agricultural contaminants have on normal gut bacteria function.1,2 In fact, available literature suggests that humans are becoming increasingly intolerant to grain and grain products for exactly these reasons (e.g. wheat & gluten sensitivity & celiac disease in humans).

We are learning that disruption of vital gut bacteria balance can have devastating effects on the health of the host, including diabetes, obesity, autoimmune disease, cancers, GI issues, and even DCM.3–5 Could the contamination of grains in pet food be one reason why many pets experience improvement of various issues with the change from grain-inclusive to grain-free? Could be.

Ultimately the phrase ‘there is no evidence to support the use of grain-free foods’ doesn’t mean there is not a benefit. It simply means that we have a major gap in research into companion animal nutrition and that we easily forget our recent history. On the contrary, we don’t have evidence to support that feeding grains to canines or felines are any more healthful than feeding grain-free diets. Evidence only shows that it meets minimal (known) nutritional standards, not that pets thrive on these processed diets. In short, canine and feline nutrition fields are far behind the knowledge we have in livestock and human nutrition.


Are ALL grain-free foods the same?

Many veterinarians and pet owners automatically lump grain-free cans, fresh food, raw food, and freeze-dried products as ‘grain-free’. While this is technically correct – there are stark differences that make these foods different from their kibble counterparts.

Regardless of whether we are feeding grain-free or not, we need to consider the high temps kibble and canned foods are heated to during the manufacturing process. This high heat creates Maillard Reaction Products (MRP) which is the name for a series of reactions that is the product of sugar (carbohydrate) and protein when heated. These are also known as AGE’s or Advanced Glycation End Products.

MRP’s are responsible for the nutrient loss and associated with diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, kidney disease, loss of cognitive function, allergies, periodontal disease, and chronic inflammation.6–12 This can mean things like arthritis, skin, and ear issues, an old injury that keeps resurfacing, bloating, IBS, etc. Also, there is a large amount of research to suggest that they are carcinogenic and accelerate aging.13,14

  • Heterocyclic amines are MRPs from cooking protein that increases with elevated cooking temperature. This phenomenon is more pronounced in meat than fish – and these increase with temperature and dryness of meat or meat products15.
  • Acrylamides are a chemical that forms naturally from starchy foods during high-temperature cooking. According to the European Food Safety Authority evidence from animal studies shows that acrylamides are genotoxic and carcinogenic: they damage DNA and cause cancer. And since we know so little about animal nutrition is it possible that much of the disease we’re seeing – including DCM – has at least something to do with the MRP’s that are in dry and/or canned pet food? Is it a coincidence that freeze-dried, fresh, and raw options do not have as many associated issues as their processed counterparts? Maybe.


Allergic to Grains? Probably Not (sorry, not sorry)

Pet food can be made of everything from rendered unfit foods for human consumption to ingredients that are 100% organic and probably better than the food we feed ourselves. I’m not necessarily here to split hairs on ingredients and in the types of ingredients that are in our pet’s food. Because is it these ingredients that are causing the problem? Or is it something else? – These are the questions that the experts seem to avoid entirely. When a dog experiences issues related to food, we are quick as a society to turn over the bag and blame an ingredient or set of ingredients. However, those ingredients as listed are likely not the problem – rather the quality, processing agents, AGE’s and contamination of these ingredients (e.g. herbicides, pesticides, etc.); something you will never find listed on a label.


More Important: Nutrient Availability & Digestibility

The digestibility of food is altered as it is processed, mixed with other ingredients, and heated. That said, canned and kibble foods by definition will have varying levels of nutrient availability and digestibility than their lesser processed counterparts. The ingredients (or set of ingredients) that make up a food could be the most nutrient-dense food available – but if they are not digestible by the cat or dog then those ingredients are irrelevant. In short, this means that it is important to ask your pet food company for their digestibility and nutrient analysis to determine if their food is adequate for your pet. Learn more about what questions to ask and why here.


About the author: Nicole Cammack

Nicci is the owner of award-winning NorthPoint Pets & Company, in Connecticut. She is also the Founder & CEO of Undogmatic Inc. Her undergraduate and graduate education includes biology, chemistry, business, and nutrition. She has worked in the pharmaceutical industry on multiple R&D projects and has had the privilege to learn from leading international figures in the human and pet health industry. She regularly lectures at national conferences, including federal, state, and municipal K9 events. Her current research involves identifying pathogenic risk factors and transmission among raw fed pets through a comprehensive worldwide survey.



  1. Van Bruggen AHC, He MM, Shin K, et al. Environmental and health effects of the herbicide glyphosate. Sci Total Environ. 2018;616-617:255-268. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.10.309
  2. Aitbali Y, Ba-M’hamed S, Elhidar N, Nafis A, Soraa N, Bennis M. Glyphosate based- herbicide exposure affects gut microbiota, anxiety and depression-like behaviors in mice. Neurotoxicol Teratol. 2018;67:44-49. doi:10.1016/
  3. DeGruttola AK, Low D, Mizoguchi A, Mizoguchi E. Current Understanding of Dysbiosis in Disease in Human and Animal Models. Inflamm Bowel Dis. 2016;22(5):1137-1150. doi:10.1097/MIB.0000000000000750
  4. Galland L. The Gut Microbiome and the Brain. J Med Food. 2014;17(12):1261-1272. doi:10.1089/jmf.2014.7000
  5. Yoshida N, Yamashita T, Hirata K. Gut Microbiome and Cardiovascular Diseases. Diseases. 2018;6(3). doi:10.3390/diseases6030056
  6. Jandeleit-Dahm K, Cooper ME. The Role of AGEs in Cardiovascular Disease. doi:info:doi/10.2174/138161208784139684
  7. Pion PD, Kittleson MD, Thomas WP, Skiles ML, Rogers QR. Clinical findings in cats with dilated cardiomyopathy and relationship of findings to taurine deficiency. J Am Vet Med Assoc. 1992;201(2):267-274.
  8. DCM: add taurine to grain-free dog foods, say scientists. Accessed May 15, 2019.
  9. DACVIM CDSBM. Breed-specific variations of cardiomyopathy in dogs. Accessed May 15, 2019.
  10. Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Dogs. vca_corporate. Accessed May 15, 2019.–indepth
  11. Medicine C for V. FDA Investigation into Potential Link between Certain Diets and Canine Dilated Cardiomyopathy. FDA. Published online June 27, 2019. Accessed June 29, 2019.
  12. Freeman LM, Stern JA, Fries R, Adin DB, Rush JE. Diet-associated dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs: what do we know? J Am Vet Med Assoc. 2018;253(11):1390-1394. doi:10.2460/javma.253.11.1390
  13. Prasad C, Imrhan V, Marotta F, Juma S, Vijayagopal P. Lifestyle and Advanced Glycation End Products (AGEs) Burden: Its Relevance to Healthy Aging. Aging Dis. 2014;5(3):212-217. doi:10.14336/AD.2014.0500212
  14. Turner DP. Advanced glycation end-products: a biological consequence of lifestyle contributing to cancer disparity. Cancer Res. 2015;75(10):1925-1929. doi:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-15-0169
  15. Jägerstad M, Skog K, Arvidsson P, Solyakov A. Chemistry, formation and occurrence of genotoxic heterocyclic amines identified in model systems and cooked foods. Z Für Leb -Forsch A. 1998;207(6):419-427. doi:10.1007/s002170050355

How To Switch Your Cat’s Food


Have you ever tried to switch your cat to a new food without success? This is actually a common problem with cats, so rest assured you’re not alone! Switching your cat’s food can be stressful for you and your cat. Before you start there are a few important things to consider.  Switching your cat to a new food can be a challenge, but with careful planning, you can increase the chances of a successful transition. In this guide, we will provide you with practical tips to introduce a new food to your cat without stress.

Tips for a Smooth Cat Food Transition

  • Relax. Believe it or not, getting stressed before you even switch the food can also stress out your cat. Be sure to set the right tone by not drawing extra attention to mealtime or making a big deal about the new food.
  • Be sure to have 3+ weeks of your cats’ regular food on hand, this will be enough to fully transition.
  • Begin with clean bowls or feeding platters. You should be in the habit of washing bowls daily to prevent unhealthy bacteria from building up.
  • Believe it or not, bowls should be made of glass, USA food-grade ceramic, or a safe plant-based material. For more on this click here: Is Your Pet’s Healthy Food Being Served In A Toxic Bowl?
  • Cats can actually develop an aversion to food based on the size of their feeding bowl. Bowls for food and water should be wide and shallow so cats’ whiskers do not hit the sides of the bowl. This is a phenomenon called whisker fatigue and it leads people to believe their cat is picky when in reality it may be that the bowl is irritating them. In fact, saucers or plates are actually best!
  • Decide what you’re going to switch to, as there are countless options. Consider protein, texture, sourcing, and any health conditions at play. Textures of canned/wet food include pate, shredded, or stews. For raw food, some can be chunky or finer in texture.

Week-by-Week Transition Plan:

how to switch cat food

Week 1: 

You will only use a pea-sized amount of the new food at each meal. If you are using cans or pouches you can try and store them in the fridge for 2-3 days. However, most cats do not like cold food. Be prepared to throw away a fair amount of cat food in your first 1-2 weeks. If you are using raw food, it becomes a little easier as you can thaw small amounts at a time since many raw cat foods come in convenient little kibble-sized pieces that thaw quickly. Regardless, be sure that when you offer the food to your cat that it is at room temperature.

Simply take a pea-sized amount and spread it thinly and evenly along the entire bottom of the dish you are using. Then, take your normal food (kibble or wet) and put it directly on top.

Notes for Success

At this point, it is important to not mix the food. The small amount in the bottom of the dish is to simply introduce the aroma of the new food, and not necessarily get them to consume it. Serve the meal as you normally would without making a big deal about it. Be sure that you do not hover or stare at your cat – simply go about your activities as you normally would. Cats tend to pick up on energy and stress, and you want to avoid introducing any new variables.

It is normal for your cat to not eat any of the new food or maybe leave and return to the dish a few times before eating their regular food. Again, try not to make a big deal about any new behaviors. They should be used to the smell of the new food within a few days. You may find them even starting to lick the bottom of the bowl and clean the dish by the end of the first 5-7 days. This is a good sign, however, be sure not to increase the new food too quickly as to avoid digestive upset.

Pro Tip:

By day 3-4 of week 1 you may choose to take one teaspoon of warm water into the dish prior to adding your regular food if your cat is showing interest in the new food. This can promote an appetizing smell and help to increase moisture intake. At the same time recognize that this is the most critical week, be sure not to rush! Patience is key!

Week 2:

By this point, your cat should have shown some interest and consumed some of the new food at the bottom of the bowl. At this point, you may increase the wet food to 1-2 teaspoons. Repeat a similar process at week one making sure the food is room temperature, with the new food on top. If your cat has seemed to like the added water, you may continue to add it.

By day 4-5 of week two, you may increase the food another small amount as long as they are consuming what you are already given.  Now is the time to consider cutting back on the dry food by a similar volume.

Weeks #3 & #4:

By this time your cat may be only interested in the new food, which is perfectly ok!  If this is the case, there may or may not be a little bit of loose stool as a result of the cat’s decision to switch to the new food abruptly. This should subside within a day or two as their system adjusts.

If they are still consuming both foods, then you can continue increasing the new food and decreasing the kibble as each day progresses. As mentioned above, the entire process can be slow and take 3-4 weeks or more!

Sometimes, they will begin to act hungry, and/or vomit bile when switched too quickly because the gastric pH and amount of secretion have not had time to adjust to the new food, especially in the case of switching from dry to wet food or raw food. If this does happen try offering a small “snack” outside of mealtime. This could include freeze dried treats, food or fresh meat.

Pro Tip: Cats tend to not seek out water as dogs do. While there are biological reasons for this, this doesn’t mean that they should not have ample fresh, clean water available – ideally away from their food bowl. If your cat does drink regularly and you feed dry food, do not be surprised to see their water intake decrease as you move to a more moisture-rich food. This is normal!


The most important aspect of switching your cat’s food is not to stress! Be patient, and consistent. These practices pay off in time. Be sure to always ensure your cat has access to water. As they transition to a more moisture-rich food you may notice a healthier coat, brighter eyes, and even more energy!  Your cat who may not have been too playful prior may have more vigor and energy for exercise – it may be worth investing in a toy or two!


About the Author: Nicole Cammack

Nicole is the founder & owner of multiple-award-winning NorthPoint Pets & Company, in Connecticut, USA. She has completed undergraduate work in biological sciences, business and holds an M.S. in Nutrition. Currently, Nicole is pursuing a PhD in Comparative Biomedical Sciences (Canine Nutrition/Metabolomics) at the prestigious University of Georgia in the USA.

Her background includes experience in the pharmaceutical industry on multiple R&D projects and has had the privilege to learn from leading figures in the human and pet health industries. Nicole has been heavily involved in police canine nutrition within the USA, helping to improve the modern care and feeding of working dogs. Her interests include working dog nutrition, raw feeding, pathogens, metabolomics, and nutrition’s relationship to disease in humans and canines. Her current research involves the exploration of the canine urinary metabolome and the relationship to diet.

Publications: Cammack, N.R., Yamka, R.M., and Adams, V.J. (2021). Low Number of Owner-Reported Suspected Transmission of Foodborne Pathogens From Raw Meat-Based Diets Fed to Dogs and/or Cats. Frontiers in Veterinary Science 8. doi: 10.3389/fvets.2021.741575.




How to Safely Store Dry Food

We’ve all heard it before—Keep your pet food in the original bag, do not dump the food into a plastic container. But why?

Proper storage of pet food is essential in maintaining freshness and keeping your pet healthy. Pet food storage containers are typically not airtight. Therefore, these containers allow unwanted air and moisture to get into the food. Aside from the unwanted moisture, the oils and fats from the dry food can interact with the plastic of the container. All of this can cause mold to grow and make the food less palatable, and enjoyable for our furry friends.

Most kibble is dried before packaging to ensure there is no added moisture. Therefore, it is our responsibility, as consumers, to ensure that the moisture-free level remains that same after purchasing. Manufacturers specifically design pet food bags to prevent moisture and to keep the contents as fresh as possible. 

So what is the best way to store dry pet food? The answer is simple– in the original bag, in a cool, dry location. If the bag has a zip closure, it is recommended to expel all air before resealing. If there is no zip closure, release the air within the bag, and roll from the top. If a pet food storage container is available, place the bag into the container for optimal freshness. It is also possible to place sealed food in a refrigerator or freezer. 

Are All Human Foods Dangerous for Dogs?

Every day there is more information made available to educate owners on various diets available. Commonly discussed and debated topics include grain-free foods and the age-old practice of giving your pets “table food.” Should we feed human food to our pets? The short answer is it depends. Some of these foods can be very beneficial and some could have unintended negative consequences.

gut health, immune system, pet health, nutrition, microbiome, good bacteria, bad bacteria, microbiome

The Importance of Gut Health for Pets: The Role of Bacteria

Throughout the past 3 months, several peer-reviewed articles indicated how critical the microbiota and micro-biome are to canine behavior, health and performance, each warranting its own discussion. The following article discusses why canines should regularly receive probiotic supplementation to support their unique needs, and prevent common ailments and diseases