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  1. #1
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    Kitty likely has IBD - any diet recommendations?

    Our vet is suspicious that our 13 year old male, Thor, has IBD. We had that suspicion even before he suggested it. Thor has been tested for hyperthyroid (we had a cat that was treated for that for years, so that was our initial guess when we noticed he was losing weight and having digestion issues), but everything checked-out fine. The only thing that is at all amiss is slight anemia, which isn't particularly abnormal in middle-aged/older cats.

    I doubt our vet will go to the trouble of testing specifically for IBD. We've ruled-out most other things, like thyroid and parasites. Thor never goes outdoors, so parasites or viral stuff are not likely. When I last talked to the vet he suggested steroid treatment, if a short course of Imodium didn't help his chronic diarrhea issues--and it really hasn't.

    So assuming he does go on steroids, we probably do want to find a more ideal food for our 3 furbaby boys. Currently we're feeding them PetSmart's Authority dry for sensitive systems. For years we fed them Iams, but the main ingredient in that $$ stuff is corn, which isn't really good for any animals, much less cats. And IBD is similar to Chron's, so corn would be a no-no for that reason, alone.

    Lately all he tolerates is really nasty, cheap Friskies canned stuff. Hopefully once we get his symptoms under control we can convince him to eat something better. Canned would be fine. We tried Innova canned for senior cats a while back and he REALLY liked it, but he ate it too fast and it made him pretty sick. We'd happily go back to Innova if he could tolerate it better in the future. The ingredients list was not full of fillers.

    Any dry suggestions (I know Blue Buffalo and Wellness are popular, but they aren't cheap and once Thor starts getting his appetite back I expect he's going to go back to his gluttonous ways--his nickname is Piggy, even though it doesn't fit him, of late) or other canned foods? Does anyone with cats who have digestive issues make food for their cats? I don't know that I would go "raw," but I'd happily boil up fish and chicken and liver and other meats if that would be suitable for him.
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  2. #2
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    If you are going to homecook a meal, you have to ensure the diet is complete. Predators usually consume the organs first, and they are full of all kinds of other things. So a homecooked diet will have to include a variety of ingredients.

    As for what to do, consider using a technique to keep your cat from pigging out. Instead of the canned innova, try a dry kibble that you can put in toys. Making the cat work for its food will force it to eat more slowly

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    If you are going to homecook a meal, you have to ensure the diet is complete. Predators usually consume the organs first, and they are full of all kinds of other things. So a homecooked diet will have to include a variety of ingredients.

    As for what to do, consider using a technique to keep your cat from pigging out. Instead of the canned innova, try a dry kibble that you can put in toys. Making the cat work for its food will force it to eat more slowly
    I'm hoping we can get him back to eating dry, at least in part. He was loving the Authority Sensitive dry food until recently. Now he and our other 2 boys are all turning up their noses in favorite of that garbage Friskies canned. Boneheaded cats.

    Yeah, if we do any quantity of home cooked foods we need to make sure that we're supplementing with taurine, for sure. We've been getting some of those lactose-free cat milks and kitten formulas into him to help make sure he's getting some extra calories, fluids, and nutrients. But he's likely going to need a variety of things.

    Such a big, stubborn dummy. He never would have survived in the wild (we rescued him in the middle of Winter as a 4-5 month old kitten with frostbitten toes in a bad part of town near where my husband worked). He's my baby and he knows it...and I sort of encourage it.

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  4. #4
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    Maybe try a decend kibble like Taste of the Wild, which is grain free. Chicken Soup for the Soul has grains, but gets decent reviews.

    You could also maybe mix in a small spoonful of wet food with water to form a gravy with the kibble. Only problem with this is pets generally expect the gravy every feeding. Therefore not eating dry kibble. The drier content of the kibble with gravy helps to slow them while eating as well.

    Disclosure: I'm not a vet, nor do I play one on mtn bike forums.

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    Grain in general isn't the problem unless the animal has allergies. It is one of the things they would be getting from the organs of their prey in the wild. Wild predators typically eat the muscle meat last, since the organs provide more nutrients. The problem is the low quality stuff with more grain than animal protein, esp for cats.

    Moist foods are technically better for cats but with this cat having problems with eating too fast, it will be hard to slow him down with moist food. To do it you would have to feed him small amounts several times per day and unless you are home all day with the cat that can be pretty much impossible.

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    After rereading my original post. I did a poor job on my post.

    Grain free kibble generally has higher protien content than those with grain. Manufactures of grain free kibble generally try to mimic a more natural diet for dogs and cats as if they were in the wild. Including meats, fish, fruits, veggies, roots etc.....

    Nate brings up a really good point I meant to touch on in my first post and didnt do so well. By mixing a soft food with kibble to form a gravy type meal. Dogs and cats generally slow thier eating due to the coursness off the still dry kibble smoothered in gravy. Thus helping in throwing up from eating to fast.

    Read the ingredients of what your feeding your pet. Monitor them and continue to consult your vet.

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    [/QUOTE]

    There's the problem right there. He's spoiled and lazy. There's a mouse right in front of him and he could care less.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Vader View Post
    There's the problem right there. He's spoiled and lazy. There's a mouse right in front of him and he could care less.
    Ha, that's our Thor! He'd never survive in the wild...I don't think he has a shred of natural hunting instinct. I had to get rid of my mousepad, since he was convinced it was his bed and would always be ON it, then I had no room to use my mouse.

    Great thoughts on food options, guys. Mojo, I am considering the Chicken Soup food. That's what my folks feed their cats and they've really had good luck with it. Our feed co-op right in our little town even sells it. The ingredients all sound like things I would eat.
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  9. #9
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    my cat has occasional bum problems. when it's acting up, i get some wet food (good brand) and put some rice in, then some probiotic powder. Seems to help.

    Yes, corn is allergenic, as is wheat and soy. I used to feed her wellness, but they kept raising the price like crazy. a friend with the same issue told me that Costco has a super premium brand (under their Kirkland name) but it is made by Diamond which makes other high quality foods. but you get it at the costco price. now i get food for less than half the price! i read the ingredients too, and they have no corn, soy, or by products. The dog gets the same stuff, in a grain free version (her skin has improved). its not as good as homemade, or raw, but its the best stuff for the money.
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    Man, I wish we had a Costco closer to us (as well as Trader Joe's...gah!). Yeah, Wellness is crazy $$. I think we could make our cats homemade food for a LOT cheaper than going the Wellness or Blue route.

    Poor dumb cats. They don't do any better than we do when we eat a lot of junk.
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  11. #11
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    Fyi, byproducts are organs. It is a human response (and a western one at that) to avoid those. They are fine. ANYTHING can be an allergen. I have a dog that is allergic to chicken. Do you know how hard it is to find dog foods with no chicken? Most contain AT LEAST chicken fat. Makes him seriously ill.

    There is a lot of BS on the interwebs about pet food. More than most things. Like the grain free thing.
    Grain #1 ingredient=cheap junk food
    Grain on the list but a few entries down=fine

    One carb source is not inherently better than others. Corn, wheat, potato, it doesn't matter. All that matters is that they don't get too much of it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Fyi, byproducts are organs. It is a human response (and a western one at that) to avoid those. They are fine. ANYTHING can be an allergen. I have a dog that is allergic to chicken. Do you know how hard it is to find dog foods with no chicken? Most contain AT LEAST chicken fat. Makes him seriously ill.

    There is a lot of BS on the interwebs about pet food. More than most things. Like the grain free thing.
    Grain #1 ingredient=cheap junk food
    Grain on the list but a few entries down=fine

    One carb source is not inherently better than others. Corn, wheat, potato, it doesn't matter. All that matters is that they don't get too much of it.
    I don't think grain is inherently bad, but for a carnivore to have it be the #1 ingredient in a food (which it is in a lot of dry pet foods) makes me put the bag back on the shelf. Also not a fan of corn because it's so high glycemic. I know what eating a lot of high glycemic carbs does to me. And corn is a pretty big no-no for Chron's folks...IBD is very similar to Chron's in cats. Maybe 6 months ago we started avoiding foods with corn in them and the puking going on between our cats has greatly lessened (they seem to do OK with the foods that have things like rice, barley, and oatmeal). Stuff I'm reading suggests that both corn and chicken can be somewhat highly allergenic for dogs and cats. Chicken really is in a LOT of pet foods! I'm sure because it's cheap and plentiful.
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    In your case, you have very specific needs. I was speaking more about the general anti grain and anti corn sentiment that gets spread around pet owners forums. I left those types of sites because of the religious fanatacism regarding food that you get on those sites.

    Do you jave any good pet food stores near you? Some of them have sample size packages. I used them to figure out that chicken was the source of my dog's allergy. Maybe you could do similar to find a food your cat tolerates well

    I got samples of most of the good brands- Wellness, Innova, Canidae, California Naturals

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    In your case, you have very specific needs. I was speaking more about the general anti grain and anti corn sentiment that gets spread around pet owners forums. I left those types of sites because of the religious fanatacism regarding food that you get on those sites.

    Do you jave any good pet food stores near you? Some of them have sample size packages. I used them to figure out that chicken was the source of my dog's allergy. Maybe you could do similar to find a food your cat tolerates well

    I got samples of most of the good brands- Wellness, Innova, Canidae, California Naturals
    We've got both PetSmart and Petco and they have a pretty good variety. At the very least we can try the smallest sizes of dry and a few cans. The 2 other cats seem to be able to eat anything and everything (and they both are pudgy, as a result).

    I definitely don't think cats need to be grain-free, per se. I mean, even in the wild cats will eat grass. To feed them only meat/protein would cost a fortune, too.
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    Do you have a Tractor Supply? Their 4Health brand cat food has chicken, ground chicken meal (guts-n-all), barley, vegetables, and probiotics. No corn or soy. It costs the same as the Purina Pro at Petsmart but is much higher quality. Plus, because it's better quality nutrition my cat eats less of it, so I guess that probably makes it cheaper in the long run.

    I also have no medical training and my cat is perfectly healthy, although she turns 12 this month. I have no idea how this food would impact an IBS condition. It seems to me the probiotics might help, though.
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    We don't have a farm-supply place real close by, but our local feed co-op has a similar product that we may try. I'm guessing it's also cheaper than comparable foods at the pet food warehouse stores.

    Interesting you mention probiotics. We've been sprinkling a capsule of a 6-strain probiotic on his food for a few weeks, now. Not sure that it helps, but it certainly can't hurt. If he does have IBD, then it's going to take a course of steroids to knock down the inflammation and allow his intestinal tract to heal before probiotics can really do their work.

    I'm going to run a stool sample over to the vet's office in a bit so that they can rule out other possibilities (though parasites are unlikely. Could be a stubborn/longterm infection, though, which would be easy to treat).
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    what I meant by a good pet food store was a small mom & pop type place that sells nothing but pet food. most decent-sized cities and some smaller ones have at least one.

    IME, they are not really any more expensive on the high end brands like Wellness that the big chains carry. they just don't stock the super cheap low end junk so they appear more expensive.

    and my wife and I are buying a 30lb bag of kibble for two big dogs every few weeks, so we're very aware of cost differences.

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    All i know is, since going grain free, my dog has less skin allergies. when she went back on a food that had lots of corn, the skin problems were worse than they ever were. i agree byproducts can be fine, but from what i've heard (and it may or may not be an exaggeration) that in cheaper foods they often use sicker or older animals in animal feed, and the byproducts tend to be more prone to contamination and disease which would rarely end up in muscle meat.
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    Can i ask what is happening to the cat?

    because my cat has bouts of diarreah, and sometimes even streaks of mucous or blood, which signal inflammation. Its on and off though, with weeks of normal poops. I noticed a pattern of her going outside and getting the runs. she's mainly an indoor cat, but sometimes i let her out on the back patio, and she LOVES eating grass. We dont spray anything on the grass, but since she's been inside a lot more, she hasnt been eating the grass, and now i'm not noticing any loose poops. She's otherwise healthy, good appetite, plump, good energy, etc.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    All i know is, since going grain free, my dog has less skin allergies. when she went back on a food that had lots of corn, the skin problems were worse than they ever were. i agree byproducts can be fine, but from what i've heard (and it may or may not be an exaggeration) that in cheaper foods they often use sicker or older animals in animal feed, and the byproducts tend to be more prone to contamination and disease which would rarely end up in muscle meat.
    dry kibble gets cooked down so much that I'm not terribly sure how much that would matter.

    skin problems are frequently attributed to food allergies (according to my wife, the vet). figuring out exactly what that allergy is can be difficult, but it doesn't mean that all grain is the problem. your dog has an allergy to something and by going grain free, you're taking the easy way out by eliminating as many potential allergens as possible. but like in my dog's case, sometimes the allergy is with a meat component of the food.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    Can i ask what is happening to the cat?

    because my cat has bouts of diarreah, and sometimes even streaks of mucous or blood, which signal inflammation. Its on and off though, with weeks of normal poops. I noticed a pattern of her going outside and getting the runs. she's mainly an indoor cat, but sometimes i let her out on the back patio, and she LOVES eating grass. We dont spray anything on the grass, but since she's been inside a lot more, she hasnt been eating the grass, and now i'm not noticing any loose poops. She's otherwise healthy, good appetite, plump, good energy, etc.
    What I've read about IBD suggests that this could be what's bothering your kitty, too, assuming it's not parasites or other infection. IBD symptoms can come and go in early stages and depending upon what area of the digestive tract is being affected. Or maybe she's eating something that is temporarily upsetting her system. We had indoor/outdoor cats growing up who would have stuff like this if they ate something weird. They mostly puked after eating grass.

    Thor has had chronic diarrhea for a while, now and has lost a ton of weight in the past year. We were dealing with an elderly, failing, hyperthyroid kitty for so long that we didn't really notice how much weight he had lost and how poorly he was doing until our Lola was gone.

    We just got the results from a stool sample dropped-off at the vet's office this afternoon. Thor has no signs of parasites or other infection, so it's looking increasingly likely that IBD will be the diagnosis. The vet is gone until the weekend, so I probably won't hear from him until Sat. or Mon. to figure out what the next step is. I know he had wanted to try their cat-specific probiotics, too.

    Interesting thing. I stopped by PetSmart to look at food and found that they have a new natural store brand (Simply Nourish)...all ingredients that I would eat and it was located in the aisle with all of the super premium brands like Blue and Wellness (but for about 2/3 the price). I bought a bag of one of the dry varieties (the canned were not a bad price, but I didn't like the amount of packaging--each can was inside a little cardboard sleeve...wasteful). Turkey is the main ingredient + steel cut oats, sweet potatoes, cranberry. They had a couple of other varieties, too, including one with a lot more sweet potatoes and salmon. I realized it was their brand when I got home and opened it and saw that the pieces were shaped exactly like their Authority brand (which we had been feeding our cats, until they all decided they were too good for dry and would only eat canned).

    I opened the bag and they went nuts. I put a bit on top of their existing dry food (that they are barely picking at, now) and they inhaled it, picking around their old food. Cats are dumb.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    what I meant by a good pet food store was a small mom & pop type place that sells nothing but pet food. most decent-sized cities and some smaller ones have at least one.

    IME, they are not really any more expensive on the high end brands like Wellness that the big chains carry. they just don't stock the super cheap low end junk so they appear more expensive.
    I don't know that we have anything like that around here, but I will definitely do some research. There used to be a few stores like that when we lived about an hour S of here, but I think as the warehouses moved-in they all shuttered.
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    I just read all of this and have no pets. Companion animal diets are incredibly interesting to me apperently.
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    Id scrap the passion forum all together, its a breeding ground for unicorn milkers, rainbow chasers and candy cotton farters.

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    Quote Originally Posted by monzie View Post
    I just read all of this and have no pets. Companion animal diets are incredibly interesting to me apperently.
    I'm always reading random threads like that...I learn something new every day!
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    Have your vet check your cat out for small cell lymphoma... one of our cats ended up with it, he's still alive 4 years later, but the medicine is steep in price. Prednizone and Leukaran is what he is on now, and he's doing fine. Same symptoms your cat has.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    what I meant by a good pet food store was a small mom & pop type place that sells nothing but pet food. most decent-sized cities and some smaller ones have at least one.

    IME, they are not really any more expensive on the high end brands like Wellness that the big chains carry. they just don't stock the super cheap low end junk so they appear more expensive.

    and my wife and I are buying a 30lb bag of kibble for two big dogs every few weeks, so we're very aware of cost differences.

    I usually just go by $/#. The Purina Pro Plan is $1/# ($30 for a 30# bag) and the 4Health is $1/# (also $30 for a 30#bag) We were going through a bag every two weeks with the Pro Plan but a bag every 3 weeks with the 4Health. So, not that big of a differenc in the short run but an overall cost savings with time.

    That's not why we switched though, that's just a happy side benefit of higher quality ingredients.

    Just a side observation on the corn vs. other grains in pet food. The foods with corn in them swell when they get wet, the foods with barley, etc. don't. They (the ones with corn) swell when they get into the stomach. That can make cats barf and can cause bloat in dogs. For me that's just another reason to use a food that doesn't contain corn, or at least not a large proportion of it. That's JMHO though, I'm not aware of any actual research-based data on this.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandyBoy View Post
    Have your vet check your cat out for small cell lymphoma... one of our cats ended up with it, he's still alive 4 years later, but the medicine is steep in price. Prednizone and Leukaran is what he is on now, and he's doing fine. Same symptoms your cat has.
    Awww...poor kitty. How was it diagnosed? He did just have a full blood work-up maybe a month ago and everything looked good, except for very mild anemia, which could be related to him not absorbing food well (and his weight loss would be related to this).
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    Quote Originally Posted by skullcap View Post
    Just a side observation on the corn vs. other grains in pet food. The foods with corn in them swell when they get wet, the foods with barley, etc. don't. They (the ones with corn) swell when they get into the stomach. That can make cats barf and can cause bloat in dogs. For me that's just another reason to use a food that doesn't contain corn, or at least not a large proportion of it. That's JMHO though, I'm not aware of any actual research-based data on this.
    Could be something to that. When they were eating loaded-with-corn Iams we were cleaning up at least a spot of puke/day. Now we might clean a couple spots/week since avoiding corn entirely. They're drinking a LOT less water while eating a mix of corn-free dry and canned foods, too.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skullcap View Post
    I'm not aware of any actual research-based data on this.
    Uhhh....right. sounds rather implausible. all dry kibble will swell, because it will absorb moisture, since the moisture has been cooked out of it. there is absolutely no evidence that diet has anything to do with bloat in dogs. what DOES affect risk of bloat is the size of the dog. bloat is the stomach twisting on itself. even a common sense assessment tells me that the ingredients in a food will have no affect on the condition.

    as for vomiting, it could be anything. you can't say it was the corn unless you do a diet trial and control for everything else. and even then, it might not even be related to what you feed the cat. maybe it is getting into something. eating toxic bugs or toxic plants, getting into the trash, all kinds of things.

    most of the time when my cat brings something up, it's a hairball. occasionally, she'll yack when she eats too fast.

    I usually just go by $/#. The Purina Pro Plan is $1/# ($30 for a 30# bag) and the 4Health is $1/# (also $30 for a 30#bag) We were going through a bag every two weeks with the Pro Plan but a bag every 3 weeks with the 4Health. So, not that big of a differenc in the short run but an overall cost savings with time.
    that's not the best metric for measuring cost savings. you have to look at how much you need to feed. better quality foods are usually more calorie dense, so you don't have to feed as much. that makes a bag of better food last longer than a bag of cheaper food that you have to feed more of. and don't use the suggested feeding amounts on the bag. they are ALL overestimates of what you should feed. Get the kcal/cup measurement of the food from the bag, and calculate how much your pet needs per day based on their weight and activity level.

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    indeed. this sounds bad, but i slightly underfeed my pets (slightly!) to take into account the treats they get. it would be like any human who eats a normal amount, and then snacks too. Some people look at my dog and say "she's skinny". the vet however, said she was the perfect weight. dogs are not supposed to be fat! especially a coonhound.
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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Uhhh....right. sounds rather implausible. all dry kibble will swell, because it will absorb moisture, since the moisture has been cooked out of it. there is absolutely no evidence that diet has anything to do with bloat in dogs. what DOES affect risk of bloat is the size of the dog. bloat is the stomach twisting on itself. even a common sense assessment tells me that the ingredients in a food will have no affect on the condition.

    You're going to have to have that conversation with the veterinarians that tell their clients that their dog developed bloat because the food swelled in their stomach. Also, maybe actually put a corn-based and a barley based kibble in water and see what happens. I've done this. The corn-based one swells to nearly 3 times it's original size. The barley based one doesn't swell at all. Of course, all of this is a completely pointless debate based on purely anecdotal evidence. That's my point.


    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    that's not the best metric for measuring cost savings. you have to look at how much you need to feed. better quality foods are usually more calorie dense, so you don't have to feed as much. that makes a bag of better food last longer than a bag of cheaper food that you have to feed more of. and don't use the suggested feeding amounts on the bag. they are ALL overestimates of what you should feed. Get the kcal/cup measurement of the food from the bag, and calculate how much your pet needs per day based on their weight and activity level.

    Right. Exactly. I think you just agreed with me but it reads like you're disagreeing?

    And "Here Here" on the overestimates on the feeding recommendations. If you can't see the last three ribs, you're over feeding , cut back. If you can see more than the last three ribs you're under feeding, feed more. It's really that simple.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mojo Troll View Post
    Maybe try a decend kibble like Taste of the Wild, which is grain free. Chicken Soup for the Soul has grains, but gets decent reviews.

    You could also maybe mix in a small spoonful of wet food with water to form a gravy with the kibble. Only problem with this is pets generally expect the gravy every feeding. Therefore not eating dry kibble. The drier content of the kibble with gravy helps to slow them while eating as well.

    Disclosure: I'm not a vet, nor do I play one on mtn bike forums.
    I can second the recommendation for Taste of the Wild. Our four cats love the stuff, and they seem to eat a little less of it than other brands that have corn or cornmeal as a primary ingredient. Yes, it is more expensive, but I don't miss having to clean up kitty puke all the time. And the dog loves it too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    indeed. this sounds bad, but i slightly underfeed my pets (slightly!) to take into account the treats they get. it would be like any human who eats a normal amount, and then snacks too. Some people look at my dog and say "she's skinny". the vet however, said she was the perfect weight. dogs are not supposed to be fat! especially a coonhound.
    that's how you're supposed to do it.

    You're going to have to have that conversation with the veterinarians that tell their clients that their dog developed bloat because the food swelled in their stomach.
    Sigh...there are some kooks and poor vets out there. While that's hardly the worst I'm aware of, it's indicative that there are vets out there that buy into and sometimes create the internet kookiness/rumors. With me being heavily involved in science, I'm always asking my wife about the veterinary science on certain issues. So I know she reads up on some of it. She oftentimes has me look something up because I have better online journal access than she does. But not all veterinarians do that.

    I think you just agreed with me but it reads like you're disagreeing?
    It reads like I am disagreeing because I am disagreeing with the very first sentence, but the rest is pretty close to what I was saying.

    I usually just go by $/#.

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    Quote Originally Posted by big-daddy-59 View Post
    I can second the recommendation for Taste of the Wild. Our four cats love the stuff, and they seem to eat a little less of it than other brands that have corn or cornmeal as a primary ingredient. Yes, it is more expensive, but I don't miss having to clean up kitty puke all the time. And the dog loves it too.
    My BFF raves about this stuff, too. Her 2 cats and 2 dogs eat it and never puke. She's always shocked by how much our cats seem to puke (well, really it's just one cat that's a semi-chronic puker. Our late female was a puker late in life, too, but she also was hyperthyroid and puking can be a symptom of that).
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    i've looked more into this. I guess food allergies are rare in cats, which may mean grain elimination is unlikely to help. With IDB, its more likely an immune reaction to normal gut bacteria, or meat proteins. As Nate said some cats need to go Chicken-free, since they recommend trying a new protein that the cat doesnt normally eat. Chicken-free is hard to find. Evo Herring formula is fish only. could be worth a shot. I know a cat that can only eat venison.
    fap

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    I know you said you're not really interested in going raw, but we have had nothing but success with transferring our cat to a 100% raw diet with zero grain and veg additives. The food we use is a frozen food sourced out of Portland, Oregon called RadCat. It's the only commercially available cat food we've found that has no grain and no vegetarian matter. It includes all the requisite ash/taurine and other supplements in the correct ratios such that we don't have to worry about problems with "diet drift" from attempting to roll our own.

    The trope that "cats eat the stomachs of their prey thus need vegetable matter" is untrue - I learned this after reading a fair bit of feline research - OSU in particular has a good raft of data available on their veterinary site. What feral and hunting felis catus actually consume of their natural prey are the large muscle groups, spinal column, heart, brain, kidneys and liver. They leave behind the stomach, intestines and bladder. They do not eat grass as a nutritional source, they eat grass as a mechanism to induce vomiting, in order to regurgitate hairballs, and in response to GERD and other GI distresses brought on by eating inappropriate things.

    Our cat is 3 years old. He came to us from a foster home mildly overweight at 18 months of age, with an advanced case of dental resorption (gum disease). He also had early signs of IBD including somewhat frequent vomiting and diarrhea (I'd say 1-2x per week, which most cat owners tend to think is "normal"; tip: it isn't). He is a Ragdoll (longhair cat) and his foster owners kept him lion clipped to prevent his butt from getting matted with feces.

    After we had to have 8 of his molars pulled due to the dental problems, and had a long, enlightening conversation regarding obligate carnivore (feline) diet with our very sensible cat vet, and reading up on various studies (and sifting through lots and lots and lots of conflicting information on internet forums) and hearing tons of kooky theories and wildly unsupported assertions, we decided to try a trial transition to a 100% meat raw diet.

    What ultimately made my decision to transition Marlowe was discussing his problems with a cat fancier on another forum, who happens to be both a microbiologist and a Bengal breeder. He pointed me to the research available on the OSU site and other feline veterinary research sites that (and this is important) are not funded by pet food companies. He was also skeptical of the raw zealots at first, especially as he has expensive and temperamental pedigreed kitties. So being a scientist, he did his own research and drew his own conclusions. He gave me good sources on both doing "frankenprey" and finding viable commercial alternatives in raw. He followed up by saying he has seen significant improvements in health, weight management and overall economy in his cattery since going 100% raw. He said that it's not that his cats were abnormal or unhealthy before, but that he saw a significant improvement, enough to make him feel confident it was the correct decision. He says he sees less URT infections in his young kittens, and less GI issues in his adults.

    Marlowe is now 100% healthy, has had no recurrence of gum/dental problems, and I have not seen him vomit (not even a hairball) for the past year or so. His weight according to our vet is ideal at 15# of lean, healthy, Ragdoll muscle (they are BIG cats). He's full of rambunctious play and energy, more so than any longhaired neuter male cat I've ever known. He has had no recurrence of diarrhea since we weaned him off the Science Diet kibble he was fostered on. We don't have to clip him or cut his "pantaloons" to keep his butt clean. His hair does not mat or clump anymore - during shedding season we comb him once a week with a shedding blade, and that keeps it to a minimum. He has the shiniest fur of any longhaired cat I have ever seen, especially considering his coloration (he's a lilac point tabby, so he's mostly what I'd call a warm dusty grey color).

    I guess the best part is that he is so content and "efficient" on the RadCat that ultimately it is no more expensive than feeding "premium" kibble. We feed him 40 grams (yes, grams) at a feeding, 3 times daily. This is something like 33% to 50% of the recommended amount. This is an amount that maintains his ideal weight, and that he will finish fresh at one sitting, without acting like he's starving or meowing / begging for food between sittings.

    Ultimately, however, all of this is just one more anecdote on the pile of kook jobs on the internet, so it's worth exactly what you just paid for it. Probably the key is finding out what works best for your own individual cat, be it diet, medication, or a combination of the two. Some cats will also flatly refuse to transition off kibble, and if that's the case, as our vet sensibly points out, eating kibble is loads better than dying of hepatic lipidosis / renal failure from starvation, so there's that.

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    lonefrontranger, would you care to post a link to the page at OSU with these studies? I'd like to do some reading if I could. I was speaking in general about predators earlier, not specifically about cats. not all predators have precisely the same dietary habits, so if there's research out there showing that house cats predominantly consume skeletal muscle, then so be it.

    I'm just a busy dude doing a lot of primary lit reading for my own research so it'd be endlessly helpful if you could throw me a bone, so to speak.

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    I want to see Marlowe photos! I would never buy a purebred cat, but I've often thought if I could rescue a specimen of any breed a Ragdoll would be tops on my list.

    RadCat sounds great, but it appears that it's not available in MI. I'm going to have to look around to see if I can find something like that around here. I'm not averse to raw diet, per se, but mostly because I don't know that I want to deal with the amount of work involved in grinding meat and finding supplements and things to go into their food and worrying that I'm missing something key.
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    I'd be interested as well. Mine is on a crazy weight gain since being spayed.

    "So I'm packing my bag for the misty mountain.."

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    Quote Originally Posted by phoenixnr View Post
    I'd be interested as well. Mine is on a crazy weight gain since being spayed.

    "So I'm packing my bag for the misty mountain.."
    That reminds me of something we've noticed. MOST of the cats we've ever lived with seem to gradually go from wild, lanky kitten to lazy, fat cat somewhere between the ages of 1 and 2. Our youngest made it to age 4 before noticeably slowing down, but his progression from lean and athletic to "bratwurst" (he's gray and striped...he looks like a bratwurst with legs and a tail) was fast and startling.

    Actually, he's still pretty active for a lard-butt cat, but he went from loving to ambush our ankles to simply body-slamming us in play. I think he realized that he doesn't need agility to attack, he simply needs to heft his girth into our calves (though he still scampers off like he's the funniest thing alive--which he sort of is). He's nearly knocked me over during a middle of the night trip to the potty.
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  41. #41
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    I am on my mobile at a CU football game right now, and thus don't have access to the bookmarks to the OSU literature on my home machine, but to get you guys started, here is a link to a key study that kicked off Dr. Lisa Pierson, DVM's interest in and subsequent championing of proper dietary requirements for cats.

    the short, messy answer here is that cats (and all felids) are obligate carnivores, and their GI tract is designed such (short, highly acidic) that they cannot reap nutritional benefits from vegetable matter in the same way as dogs or humans, who are omnivorous.

    //edit: for the same reasons (high acidity of short GI tract) it has been suggested by other feline research I've read that raw diets pose less risk of salmonella, etc., than dry foods as the bacteria are more exposed to stomach acids and not inclined to be in cystic (hibernators) form such as they tend to be in dry pellets. Lots of varying opinions on this, but our vet in particular feels it is safer to go with raw than dry for this reason and that of lower risks of other processing issues (it sounds counter intuitive but is not - c.f. melamine poisoning, etc.)

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    i was at the petstore and got a coupon for a free small amount of raw catfood. there are many flavors but i tried the pheasent. The cat was not interested. she only agreed to eat it when i mixed a bit of fishy food with it. the pheasent had no smell, maybe thats why she didnt find it edible.
    fap

  43. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by NicoleB28 View Post
    i was at the petstore and got a coupon for a free small amount of raw catfood. there are many flavors but i tried the pheasent. The cat was not interested. she only agreed to eat it when i mixed a bit of fishy food with it. the pheasent had no smell, maybe thats why she didnt find it edible.
    it's totally normal for cats to be completely uninterested in unfamiliar food. this is a feature, not a bug. cats do not have highly advanced sense of taste so they depend on their other senses to tell them in the wild what is safe to eat: smell and familiarity are pretty key. most feline experts (I am not one, just someone who's gone thru finicky cat-ness) will tell you anytime you're transitioning foods, go very slowly and in small amounts. cats will also not eat cold food and most will not eat stale / spoiled food so anything thats been refrigerated or frozen and is stone cold or has been sitting in the bowl all day will be unappealing to them ESPECIALLY an unfamiliar food.

    tl;dr: its not a failure for them to turn up their nose the first time something new is offered, that's normal. warm it, offer it in very small amounts along with familiar food, let them get used to it.

    it took us a couple months to transition Marlowe off kibble and completely onto raw food. it's safer to do it gradually anyhow. a trick we used at first was to sprinkle some dry bonito flakes onto his food as a garnish, which he loves.

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    I think our cats are weird. Anything new is "OMG, what is this...it's new...how exciting, I love it!!!" Then after a few days they are all "what, this old crap, again?! Meh." At least this has been the case since we switched them from years of eating Iams when we got tired of cleaning puke. If we don't keep rotating their food they get bored and bother us for what we're eating.
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  45. #45
    little mad riding hood
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    some further reading: Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM - graduated out of UC Davis veterinary program, worked in the pet food industry, then became a primary expert witness in the tainted pet food scandals of a few years ago.

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    Quote Originally Posted by lonefrontranger View Post
    some further reading: Elizabeth Hodgkins, DVM - graduated out of UC Davis veterinary program, worked in the pet food industry, then became a primary expert witness in the tainted pet food scandals of a few years ago.
    I will read this in full, tomorrow, but I must say that the melamine in pet food from a few years back really horrified me...and I seem to recall that it happened on more than one occasion, which is totally beyond the pale.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoomy29er View Post
    I will read this in full, tomorrow, but I must say that the melamine in pet food from a few years back really horrified me...and I seem to recall that it happened on more than one occasion, which is totally beyond the pale.
    Yeah those incidents were pretty awful. Thankfully none of the foods I have ever fed were part of those issues.

    It will take me some time to read and digest this material, too.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    It reads like I am disagreeing because I am disagreeing with the very first sentence, but the rest is pretty close to what I was saying.


    Sorry I wasn't clear on that with the $/# stuff. It was just referring to your comment about it being difficult for most people to be able to compare prices if the bags are not in the same store. It was not intended to represent the complete cost analysis.
    I'm enjoying my childhood way too much to ever give it up.

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    Quote Originally Posted by NateHawk View Post
    Yeah those incidents were pretty awful. Thankfully none of the foods I have ever fed were part of those issues.
    We felt lucky, too. I didn't know anyone who lost a pet, but some of the stories I read broke my heart.
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  50. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoomy29er View Post
    I think our cats are weird.
    newsflash: cats are weird. Once you surrender and make peace with that notion, your life with the irresistable fuzzy little fascists will make infinitely more sense. "cats-are-weird" has been repeated so often on another pet forum I use that it's become a meme.

    Marlowe pics, as requested. Audit insanity hit our dept today so this is all I have for now. He is a rescue Ragdoll. One of the few I've ever seen who is a "solid" colorpoint with no white spotting or gloves.

    We are also getting a 4 month old Birman kitten soon, which should be fun.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Kitty likely has IBD - any diet recommendations?-marlowe-yard.jpg  

    Kitty likely has IBD - any diet recommendations?-marlowe2.jpg  


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