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Update on Smokey's Unexplained Weight Loss

September 18th, 2010, 03:34 PM
I posted about his unexplained weight loss just over a month ago: Unexplained Weight Loss in 6 yr old male cat

In short Smokey had been losing weight over a period of about a year. He started last summer at 16.4 lb (not overweight he is one BIG cat) and when I took him to the vet in Nov for his annual checkup he was 14.6. Then in the spring he appeared to be getting much skinnier and I took him in the end of May and he was 13.2 lb. By August he was down to 11.4 lbs and I was really worried about him. He had occasional days when he vomited all day mostly undigested food or yellowy green bile. Sometimes 2 to 3 times a week other times not for several weeks. He has always been a cat who will eat anything: people food, dog food, cat food and anything else he can find that is edible.

His vomiting has been an issue since he was a kitten but he had never lost weight until last year. His blood work done both last Nov and in May was absolutely normal with no test results even borderline. His physical exam was perfectly normal as well with no apparent reason for the weight loss. My vet suggested the next step was xrays but she also wanted me to consider the fact that everything was normal and possibly wait a month before doing the xray to see if he gained or lost more weight. I chose to do this and in the meantime increased his feedings to 3 a day of canned food only. He ate dry as well but seemed to prefer the Royal Canin urinary SO that one of my other cats is on. During the month I gave him mainly FF flaked chicken and if I gave him any solid canned fish or flaked canned turkey he would spend the day vomiting.

Wonder of all wonders when I took him yesterday he had gained weight and weighed 12.8 lbs so we decided not to do the xray at that time and watch him to see if he continues to gain weight. My vet suggested I switch the canned food to Wellness chicken and I went out and bought a case of it. He has now had 3 meals of Wellness canned chicken and has vomited undigested food after every meal. So now I wonder what it is about the Fancy Feast flaked chicken that allows him to digest it and not the Wellness chicken that is a 100% better food. Does anyone have any ideas what could be causing him to vomit after eating Wellness and also have any suggestions on what food to try with him next? He is now totally avoiding the Wellness and would rather eat dry than eat it.

I assume he has a food intolerance of some kind that has caused all this over the years. During the month I fed him FF Flaked Chicken most days and the few days when he was given the solid canned fish or flaked canned turkey, he vomited either undigested food or bile afterwards.He was also eating dry food and if he was given a choice he ate RC urinary SO instead of the dry I'd been feeding him all those years. He wasn't vomiting with any changes in his dry food, just when I changed the wet food from one flavour of FF to chicken. The only thing I can think of that's different about the Wellness besides the quality of the food is the fact it is solid, not flaked. Do the food guru's know of any good quality flaked canned chicken other than Wellness? :)

I know most of you won't like what I've been feeding the 4 of them, but cost is an issue for me. They all seem to prefer RC urinary SO dry and because 3 of them are males I spend a small fortune on prescription food that has worked very well to cure my oldest cat's crystals. I want to put Smokey on any food necessary to get him to gain his weight back but so far it appears the only thing he tolerates is Fancy Feast chicken. :(

I've attached 2 pics of him that were taken when he weighed 16.4 lb. He is a lot thinner now with loose skin hanging.

September 18th, 2010, 04:14 PM
Was he eating the dry at the same time as the canned or different times of day. The reason I ask is that Puddles can't eat wet and dry together, she will vomit. She will also vomit if she is really hungry and eats a bit too much. She doesn't scarf down her food, but seems to have a very delicate tummy that just that one bite too much and she gets sick. It is even more severe when she is ready to have a furball.

Another good food it Nature's Variety Instinct. My cats prefer it to Wellness.

September 18th, 2010, 04:18 PM
dbg10,something must be going on if he had lost that much weight:confused:but it's a good thing he's gained some back.
I feed my cats Wellness,but I would not feed them just one kind,like only chicken.
I usually add a little warm water if the food is too solid,since cats lick up their food.
My Rocky(rip:()went from a healthy big boy of 16lb's down to about 11lb's,he was diagnosed with Hyperthyroidism,one reason cats lose weight,he was down to 7lb's in his last days,but for different reasons.
However your beautiful cat is still young and I am certain your vet checked for Hyper.T.
I don't really have any advice,but if he can keep some foods down,that's what I would feed him,or a slow gradual change to Wellness,not only chicken.

September 18th, 2010, 04:25 PM
I don't really have any advice for you dbg10but one of my cats Herbie went through a sudden weightloss period earlier this year....he's always been a big chubby fella but he lost weight for no apparent reason, the Vet couldn't find an explanation for it. He has now put a few pounds back on and is looking much better. He never had a problem with vomiting though......One thing I have seen mentioned is to raise his food bowls 2-3 inches apparently this is suppose to help with digestion.

September 18th, 2010, 04:25 PM
When he lost his weight was his diet changed from a kibble to a canned?

Is his current weight a healthy weight, or can you feel his ribs very easily when you pat him?

September 18th, 2010, 04:36 PM
Chris,good you mentioned elevating the dish,that's what I did,I used a thick dictionary,to put Rockys dish on:cat:

September 18th, 2010, 06:12 PM
Thanks everyone! To answer your questions:

@ L4H he usually eats the wet if he can get it by itself. I was giving him the entire can of FF because they are 85g cans and letting him eat his fill. Then at the next meal I'd give him what was left in the can. If he ran out I'd open a new can but he rarely ate more than one can/day. He would then go between meals to the dry. The RC SO is not always in the dishes, but there is always some Iams weight and hairball there in 2 of the cats dishes so he was eating what was available between meals. I haven't seen him eat both at one sitting. (My oldest cat -13yo is on RC SO for urinary crystals and he is FAT so I only fill that bowl at meal times otherwise he would eat all day long) I have seen him vomit before meals if he's really hungry. The other thing I forgot to mention is occasionally he lets out a cry just before he vomits (after meals) and I believe its because he's in pain which tells me there is something wrong that hasn't been ID'd yet. All of my cats have been fed both dry and canned food since Sam developed the crystals 4 years ago.

@ Chico I still think there is something going on but put off the xray for now because he gained over a pound in just over a month of with added meals. The reason she said Wellness chicken was because he seemed to react to every other flavour of FF. I have no idea whether that's just the FF or will be other foods as well. The Wellness was $3.50/ 354g can at Pet Valu with no discount for the case so I stuck to one flavour. Yes he was tested for Hyper T and it was totally normal mid normal range.

@ Chris & Chico I have raised their dishes to help them digest their food since I saw it mentioned here many months ago but it didn't seem to change anything for him.

@ L4H do you know if the Nature's Variety Instinct is sold in a flaked variety?

If he doesn't gain any weight in the next month I'm going to have the xray done but in the meantime I'd really like to find a food that he'll eat. He's now sworn off the Wellness, he sniffs it and immediately moves to the dry food. I tried dipping my finger in it and rubbing it on his chin each time he moved away from it. The first time it worked after that he just seems to move faster to the dry food. I offer both at meal times and there is dry Iams available all day/night. Fortunately Sam doesn't like it. :thumbs up

September 18th, 2010, 06:27 PM
No NV is not sold in flaky, but is a slightly different texture than Wellness. it is more coarse. I have to add some water to it so Puddles can eat it, she is a licker of her food. Plus the additional water is good for her.

The vomiting could be a sign of IBD in cats. The meow could be from the pressure on the esophageal sphincter valve. I would get rid of the junk food and all kibble.

My cats don't like Wellness either. They were eating it for a while, but then started to turn their nose up to it. I haven't found that with Instinct.

September 18th, 2010, 06:29 PM
There is one fairly good brand that comes in gravy. I'll have to do some research. The names of the flavours are funny names.

September 18th, 2010, 06:35 PM
It's Merricks.

September 19th, 2010, 01:12 PM
Thanks L4H for your research. I will not buy a case this time just a couple of cans until I see if he likes it or not. He is such a junk food/people food eater, worse than any of my cats now or in the past, it is hard to say what he'll like long term. I broke down and gave him the last can of FF chicken last night and he dove right into it. After their dinner there was Wellness chicken left in all their bowls, so none of them like it. One of my other cats, Tiger, goes around cleaning out all the bowls when everyone is done, and he didn't eat the Wellness either. I'll try the NVI and see if he likes it. I'll let you know what happens.

September 19th, 2010, 03:46 PM
My 2 cats(got to get used to writing 2:()seem to be off the Wellness too for some reason:confused:maybe they are just tired of it,they'll eat it,but it takes a while.
So I am going to start giving them some more variety of brands.

I got some "Chicken-Soup-for-petlovers-soul",a couple of cans and some Holistic Select,going to try Merricks next.

September 19th, 2010, 05:17 PM
My 2 cats(got to get used to writing 2:()seem to be off the Wellness too for some reason:confused:maybe they are just tired of it,they'll eat it,but it takes a while.
So I am going to start giving them some more variety of brands.

My guys are off the Wellness too right now :shrug:...I'm giving them different brands, of course it is hit and miss to find what theirs "tastes du jour" are :rolleyes:....right now they are getting Natural Balance, Go, Instinct and another I can't remember which.

October 4th, 2010, 01:29 PM
I can't believe I forgot this post for so long, especially after Smokey went to the vet. :sorry:

Last Tuesday Smokey went to the vet and they were setting up for an xray and the vet was examining him. He was not the least bit impressed with all this extra attention and tried to run off the scale several times but when she finally got him to stay still he was up to 12 lbs 8oz. HURRAY!!! :thumbs up

She again found no abnormalitites on the exam and she is going to wait and weigh him monthly to make sure he's still gaining. What a load off my mind. As for his diet, we are now trying Natures Variety and it's debatable whether he likes it because he eats his dry food first. And then I plan to try another brand if he refuses it after a couple of days. I find it very weird that he is not discriminating when it comes to people food, dog food etc but won't eat good brands of cat food...he has always been a strange cat :crazy: but that's what makes him so loveable. :)

Thanks all of you for your suggestions for food I'll try to remember to keep you infomed of his progress. I'm just hoping he continues to gain :fingerscr

October 4th, 2010, 04:54 PM
Wahoo :thumbs up:highfive:. Now Smokey, no more loosing weight and getting mommy scared :yell: :grouphug:

October 4th, 2010, 05:40 PM
LOL L4H I doubt he'll listen to you. he's a very independent kitty. I thought he looked a little heavier but I was afraid to hope he'd gained until I saw the figure on the scale. Since then I've been feeding him canned food only but he still grabs the dry from the other cats bowls. He eats frequently but hasn't been vomiting nearly as often as he was. I always think he's been grabbing some crumb of people food when he does vomit, so that may be the case. I also feed him 3x a day now with canned food and he seems to be less inclined to go look for other food he can wolf down.

I have also noticed that they all like the Urinary SO dry and go to that bowl first. It isn't cheap or have the best ingredients around but I've cut back on buying the other dry because there's no point if they won't eat it. Smokey likes the SO as well and I feed both Sam and him it. I know it's not the greatest food around but if they all prefer it, it must have something good in it. Today I bought "Before BG Grain, 100% chicken" and "Merrick's Grammy's Pot Pie" to see what Smokey thinks of them. So far he hasn't been particularly excited about any of them the only one he wants is the FF I'm using up on the others. (I bought a 30 can variety pack). I feed him first and then feed the rest of them to try to keep him out of the FF.

I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I can find a high quality wet food for him that doesn't make him vomit and he likes. So far the results are very iffy as he seems to like the cheaper brands only. As for dry, he goes for the SO over every other dry I've offered them over the years. Maybe he knows something I don't know like he may have crystals forming...

I'll keep you updated on his weight. Thanks everyone :grouphug:

October 5th, 2010, 07:02 AM
I would ditch all the dry food, it is not doing any of your cats any good.

Trust me, your cats only go by the smell of the food, not whether it is doing any good for them, or is in the least bit healthy. Cat food companies spray their cat food with fat to entice cats to eat it :rolleyes:.

My semi feral, Rose won't touch kibble and only now will eat a bit of canned (she eats mostly homemade raw). She was 3 years old when I got her (1.5 years ago) and was eating prey. You would not believe the muscle mass on this girl :eek:, she is pure muscle :eek::eek:. I find it hard to pat kibble fed cats because I can feel their spines, like they have no muscle mass :shrug:, even on kittens :(. They are worse than my 14 year old, Puddles who eats 50-50 raw/canned. My point being, kibble is not what cats should be eating, it is not healthy for them. End of lecture :o :grouphug:

October 7th, 2010, 12:30 PM
I hear you L4H I would rather feed them canned than kibble and Smokey is now on an all canned diet. However Sam has had a severe problem with crystal formation (he's 13yr old) and it wasn't until I finally got him to eat the prescription diet that he got any rest from the pain and blockages. I tried canned food of all different varieties before putting him on the prescription food but he didn't want it. The strange thing is he refuses the canned prescription diet. only the kibble. He will leave any of the other cats bowls to go to his when I put his food kibble out and won't eat anything else. I wish he'd eat the canned but from experience he won't. :(

I leave the dry food out during the day for all of them because they are used to eating throughout the day. They seem to like to snack throughout the day rather than have meals. I then given them canned food twice a day
which is now when Smokey eats.

I tried the food called Before Game not sure if anyone has heard of it or not. I bought it at Global Pet Foods. It is like giving them catnip. Smokey stuck his head in the bowl and didn't lift it until he was done. The other cats all hovered around the smell of the chicken which was very strong. It was definitely a hit with Smokey, no vomiting either, and I'm sure the rest of them would be as thrilled with it as Smokey,.but it is extremely expensive so I haven't made a decision on it yet., I may keep Smokey on it but I really can't afford to put 4 cats on it. :(

I stil haven't tried the Merrick's Grammy's Pot Pie that's on today's menu.

Thanks L4H for your suggestions, I'm wondering if anyone has heard of the food
Merrick's New School Pyramid, Old School Nutrition:Before Game.
Ingredients: Chicken, water for processing
Guaranteed Analysis: Crude Protein: 9.0%
Crude Fat min:8.0%
Crude Fiber max: 1.2%
Moisture 76%
calories 1466 kcal/kg (calculated) A 3.5 oz can delivers 132 kcal of metabolized energy

It also says on the label:
This product is 100% chicken and is a healthy way to deliver additional premium protein to your pet's diet. This product is for supplemental feeding only and is not intended to be a complete and balanced diet.

I can't find it on their website either so not sure about it. A friend purchased them for me so I didn't have a chance to ask about it. It certainly has a strong odour of chicken when you open the can but storing partial cans could be a problem I think. Anyone have any ideas of storage of canned chicken that has no preservatives in it in the refrigerator?

October 7th, 2010, 12:47 PM
I haven't heard of it. I use Almo for supplemental feedings, which sounds similar to Before Game. It can't be used for regular feeding though as it is not nutritionally complete.

October 7th, 2010, 01:13 PM
Thanks L4H it appears that the Before Game is also not nutritionally complete and can't be used alone. I plan to mix it with other canned food (still working on which one). However I am wondering about storage of the Before Game. Do you store the Almo in the fridge or do you feed it to them all to empty the can each time?

I forgot to mention the history of Sam's crystal formation. About 5 years ago he started to get them and blocked up a couple of time forcing the vet to catheterize him and take the stone out. That had happened 4 or 5 times while I tried to get him to eat prescription canned or dry food to get rid of the stones. During this time I tried several different cat foods from Global that advertised they were good for cats with CRF and then we'd be back at the vet again. About 3 years ago after one such episode when I almost lost him, I he all of a sudden decided he liked the dry Hill's S/D which is only supposed to be used for periods of 6 weeks before switching to the maintenance food. He still had bloody urine for months after the last episode but would eat the Hill's S/D and move away from the other cat's dishes when I put his out. He was usually fed first anyway. The odd thing was he would not under any circumstances eat the canned S/D. He ended up staying on the dry Hill's S/D because our vet said we really had nothing to lose. with a vitamin supplement. Then finally after about 4 months we switched him to Royal Canin SO which is what he has been on since then. His urine was finally clear again without blood in it I have tried the canned SO a few times since then but he reacted the same way to it as he had the S/D and he's had no episodes at all in 2 yrs :fingerscr That's why I keep him on the dry SO with the occasional regular canned food. He has access to water at all times and is doing well on it other than the fact that he is FAT. He goes for his checkup next month so we'll find out how he is then.