Complicated cat feeding situation
Ok, I need help. I have a very complicated cat-feeding problem. Here's how it goes:
1. Taz (5 year old male tabby) eats from an auto-feeder. He is prone to obesity and has a very sensitive stomach. Current food is working for both for the most part, but he does have very smelly poos and they sometimes are soft. He is also on Clomicalm for stress/anxiety, and eats a wet meal daily of 2 tbsp plain yogurt mixed with 1 tsp generic brand canned food and water (with his pill). He also had crystals in his urine at one point, but this is under control with a weekly dose of cranberry powder added to his food.
2. Aubrie (~9 year old female ragdoll x) shares her food with the other 2 girls (similar age, both mixed breed) in a kennel with a magnetic cat door. She is very inactive (always has been), but doesn't overeat. Seems to be developing a sensitive stomach as she had diarrhea on her previous food (Natural Balance "Original") but it hasn't cleared up in the 3 weeks she's been on the same food as Taz. She is very picky about treats and as a result doesn't eat any yogurt/canned food offerings.
The other girls eat the same food as Aubrie but have no issues. I'm fairly comfortable that they will do well on anything I feed them.
The food they're all currently on is Eagle Pack Holistic Anchovy, Sardine & Salmon formula.
Food brand isn't as important to me as ingredients. I need a corn-free (or very low corn content) food for Taz's stomach, and prefer to keep all 4 cats on the same food. It must be kibble, I don't have the time for raw food, and I will not feed my cats canned food exclusively.
Any kibble suggestions are very much welcome.
Thanks in advance,
Have you tried them on a grain-free food ? such as Orijen, but other companies are getting on the bandwagon. I notice there are a few people here whose animals haven't done well on Orijen but that must be true of virtually every food.
Have you thought of adding some probiotics to the yogurt? Or some slippery elm syrup, both good for gut issues.
If only our mealtimes were so well-organized, it's bedlam, sauve qui peut!
Have not tried them on Orijen but I did briefly have Taz on Innova Evo which resulted in a really bad case of bloody diarrhea. :(
I haven't tried any additives to the yogurt for Taz, and since I can't get Aubrie to eat even any yogurt, I'm not sure how I might be able to do that for her. I can pill Taz no problem, but Aubrie is a different story - she fights like I can't even describe - the only time she actually moves with any speed! Is there a pill form that I might be able to try her on (something small enough that she could swallow)?
I will look into the Orijen, though I read some reviews yesterday and it seems Wellness is also a good brand - opinions?
My 8-yr old, mixed breed, kitty is eating [COLOR="Red"]Wellness[/COLOR] kibble in the morning and Tinned (either Wellness or Fancy Feast) in the evening. She's doing excellent on it.
Why do you not want to do wet feeding ? Especially with a cat who has had crystals, the extra moisture content would be a good thing.
I just empty the capsules of probiotic into my cats' food, it doesn't appear to have any taste. But the capsules - at least the ones I bought - are small enough for them to swallow, no problem.
Why do you not want to do wet feeding ? Especially with a cat who has had crystals, the extra moisture content would be a good thing.[/QUOTE]
I can't do wet food with my cats - Taz with his crystals has a very expensive auto-feeder that dispenses dry food up to 6 times a day (he has had 4 feedings on it since I got it) which helps keep his weight under control and also helps with his stress level. My vet recommended I give him cranberry for the crystals and that is keeping them at bay.
The other girls are grazers, one of them is *very* picky about wet food (as in I've yet to find anything out of a can that she'll eat that's not actual tuna), and their food is left out all the time - canned food would get dried out, crusty and probably full of bacteria before they finished it off. Scheduling their food is not an option given our unique feeding situation.
So that's why wet food isn't an option. I do soak some of Taz's kibble in tons of water (I make his food a soup) with his yogurt in the evening.
Badger - what kind of probiotics do you use/where do you get them?
I have been adding the Eagle Pack Solution (Ingredients: Stabilized Rice Bran, Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Natural Chicken Flavor, Inulin, Dried Aspergillus niger Extract, Dried Aspergillus oryzae Extract, L. acidophilus, L. casei, B. subtillus, B. licheniformis, B. coagulins, Aspergillus niger, Lactococcus lactis, Enterococcus faecium.) to Taz's dinner and his poops are significantly better. I've also been giving it to Aubrie - she doesn't want to eat it so I've had to force feed it to her which she hates - and I haven't had any liquid poops in a few days. Aubrie didn't get this stuff on Saturday or Sunday though, and she had a very sticky poo yesterday that required her to go in the tub to have it washed off her butt. So obviously this stuff works, but it says right on it that it's not for long-term use, only supplemental/short-term use, so I need to find something else. I think I will go pick up a bag of Wellness and transition them to it. The Wellness Indoor Health variety sounds good - opinions on this variety vs their others?
[QUOTE=dogmelissa;608364] I think I will go pick up a bag of Wellness and transition them to it. The Wellness Indoor Health variety sounds good - opinions on this variety vs their others?
I would stay away from the Indoor Wellness (or any "indoor" food for that matter). It's WAY to high in carbohydrates for all cats at 38% of calories, but especially for a cat prone to crystals (carbs create alkaline urine, and alkaline urine is an ideal environment for struvite crystals to form). If you must feed dry, try Wellness CORE, which is much higher in protein and lower in carbs (11%). Other grain-free options are Innova EVO, Nature's Variety Instinct, Solid Gold Indigo Moon or Orijen. Just a word of caution on the lower-carb kibble: they also tend to be quite high in calories so portion-control is a must. They're also high in phosphorus, so if you have a kidney-compromised cat I wouldn't recommend feeding these to them.
As for leaving out canned food, it actually doesn't become the breeding ground of bacteria that you would think. There are many people, me included, that put down wet food twice a day and let their cats graze on it over the next several hours (even up to 12). Never had a problem. You can add a few extra tsps of water to slow down the drying out process. I realize you're reluctant to do the wet thing, but just thought I'd mention it anyway.
I don't mean to be rude or disregard your request for kibble suggestions only, dogmelissa, but any cat who is prone to obesity and crystals shouldn't be on any sort of dry food. I leave out canned food for up to 12 hours and have never had a problem with it, Puddles is a nibbler too and will graze on her food every two hours or so (she gets Wellness Grainfree Canned)
The two kibble I think are best are Wellness Core and Orijen. Wellness Core did give Jasper smelly, runny poops, which Orijen did not.
Define "too high in carbs".... Cats don't *need* carbs, but they can use them. I'm pretty sure that unless I feed a homemade or raw diet, there's going to be a significant percentage of carbs in the food I feed to my cats.
I found a calculator which you input the nutritional analysis of a cat food and it spits out the actual carb percentage - carbs are bad for diabetic cats.
When I put in the info from the Wellness Indoor, it came up with 31.1% carbs.
Their current food came in at 20.6%. So yeah, logically, there's more carbs in the Wellness comparatively, but I'm not sure that you can compare it just based on percentage - not all carbs are digested or absorbed in the digestive system, specifically comparings things like fibre to a starch. Both are considered carbs, but fibre doesn't get absorbed, it simply adds bulk and "roughage" to the diet. And the Wellness Indoor has 5% fibre while the EP Holistic has only 2.8%. There are other minerals which add to the carb total which aren't necessarily digested or absorbed in the same way, as well, including minerals and vitamins. They don't all add to fat, many are essential; not to mention that in comparing these two foods, they don't even list the same nutritional components, so I am comparing apples to oranges.
I have yet to find any real information backing up your claim that carbs cause alkaline urine, and in fact I found a source that says that a treatment for cats with crystals is actually a LOW-protein food (Veterinary advice from John Burns BVMS MRCVS). I did find lots of information that suggests what you are saying, but none of them are veterinary, and most refer to dogs - cats have a different physiology and react differently to many things in the enviroment.
That being said, the crystal "problem" is under control with the cranberry, which is a recommendation of my veterinarian.
I can't use Innova Evo - as I've said before, high protein foods trigger immediate bloody diarrhea in Taz. I expect that CORE, with it's exact same protein percentage as Evo would cause the same result. Not one I'm willing to try.
I appreciate that many of you think canned food is better for many reasons. It simply does not work in my house hold, for a variety of reasons, and it's not an option I'm willing to discuss further.
I have looked at the ingredients/nutritional analysis of their current food and the Wellness Indoor, and am willing to at least give it a try. The other Wellness formulas have similar analysis and I really don't think there's a significant difference between them.
Thank you for your help,
[QUOTE=dogmelissa;608480]Define "too high in carbs".... Cats don't *need* carbs, but they can use them.[/quote]
"Too high in carbs" is anything more than what cats have evolved eating over millions of years, and what they are physiologically able to handle over the course of their lifetime. Let's look at their typical prey, say a mouse, which comes in at less than 5% carbs, about 40% protein and roughly 50% fat, give or take. A diet of 38% carbs, day in and day out, is a far cry from 5%. And just because a cat can [I]use[/I] carbs, doesn't mean they [I]should[/I]. From Dr. Zoran’s well respected abstract on the subject: [url]http://www.catinfo.org/zorans_article.pdf[/url]
[INDENT]“Cats also have several physiologic adaptations that reflect their expected low CHO (carbohydrate) intake. The first of these is that cats lack salivary amylase, the enzyme responsible for initiating CHO digestion.25 In addition, cats also have low activities of intestinal and pancreatic amylase and reduced activities of intestinal disaccharidases that break down CHOs in the small intestines.25,26 These specific differences do not mean cats cannot use starch. In fact, cats are extremely efficient in their use of simple sugars. However, it does underscore their development as carnivores and the expected low amounts of grain in their typical diet. These digestive differences may mean that high amounts of CHO in diets may have untoward effects on cats. For example, high amounts of CHO in diets decrease protein digestibility in cats because of a combination of factors, including increased passage rate.”[/INDENT][INDENT]“In cats, the liver also has several distinct features that influence disaccharide metabolism. In most animals, hepatic hexokinase (a constitutive enzyme) and glucokinase (an inducible enzyme) are active and responsible for phosphorylation of glucose for storage or oxidation. Cats differ in that they have minimal function of hepatic glucokinase, and the activity is not adaptive (ie, activity cannot be up-regulated when the diet contains large amounts of CHO).28,29 In addition, cats also have minimal activity of hepatic glycogen synthetase (the enzyme responsible for converting glucose to glycogen for storage in the liver).2 Again, the likely reason for low hepatic glucokinase and glycogen synthetase activity in cats is a metabolic program that uses gluconeogenic amino acids and fat, rather than starch, in their diet for energy. As a result, cats have limited ability to rapidly minimize hyperglycemia from a large dietary glucose load.”[/INDENT][INDENT]“The liver in cats also does not contain fructokinase, an enzyme necessary for metabolism of simple sugars. Lack of this enzyme was documented in a study30 in which cats that consumed diets high in simple sugars became hyperglycemic and fructosuric.”[/INDENT]
[QUOTE=dogmelissa;608480] I'm pretty sure that unless I feed a homemade or raw diet, there's going to be a significant percentage of carbs in the food I feed to my cats. [/quote]
Unless you were to feed canned.
[QUOTE=dogmelissa;608480] - carbs are bad for diabetic cats.[/quote]
Not only that, they frequently contribute to a cat becoming diabetic in the first place.
[QUOTE=dogmelissa;608480] not to mention that in comparing these two foods, they don't even list the same nutritional components, so I am comparing apples to oranges.[/quote]
Which is why I use the charts on this [url=http://www.felinediabetes.com/diabetic-cat-diets.htm]website[/url] as reference, since they use the “as fed” information provided by the manufacturers, calculated as a percentage of calories. Much easier to compare.
[QUOTE=dogmelissa;608480] I have yet to find any real information backing up your claim that carbs cause alkaline urine, [/quote]
Let me specify that [I]grains[/I] increase alkalinity. It’s also well known that meat protein increases urine acidity, which, along with urine dilution, are the important considerations in cats with struvite crystals.
Here’s another tidbit: [url]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14974568?dopt=Abstract[/url]
[INDENT]“CONCLUSIONS AND CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Starch and fiber in diets potentially stimulate formation of struvite crystals. Hence, reducing dietary carbohydrate is desirable to prevent struvite urolith formation.”[/INDENT]
[QUOTE=dogmelissa;608480] and in fact I found a source that says that a treatment for cats with crystals is actually a LOW-protein food (Veterinary advice from John Burns BVMS MRCVS). [/quote]
Sorry, I can’t take anyone seriously (vet or not) that’s selling a dry cat food with the following ingredients:
[INDENT]“CHICKEN & BROWN RICE_- Contains: Brown Rice, Poultry Meat Meal, Maize, Poultry Fat, Chicken Liver, Seaweed, Vitamins and Minerals”
[/INDENT][INDENT]“OCEAN FISH __Contains: Brown Rice, Fish Meal, Maize,Fish Oil, Chicken Liver, Seaweed, Vitamins and Minerals”[/INDENT]
And his comments about [url= http://www.burns-pet-nutrition.co.uk/Articles/carbohydrates_cats.htm]cats and carbohydrates[/url] are in complete contradiction to what other highly respected vets (like Dr. Zoran, Dr. Elizabeth Hodgkins, Dr. Lisa Pierson, Dr. Jean Hofve) have to say on the matter. And none of them are selling cat food.
[QUOTE=dogmelissa;608480] That being said, the crystal "problem" is under control with the cranberry, which is a recommendation of my veterinarian.[/quote]
That’s great, and I hope Taz remains problem-free. However, cranberry is mostly considered effective against bacterial infections, not necessarily against crystal formation, which is usually sterile in cats.
Either way, good luck with whatever food you decide on.
I am sorry to hear you will not consider feeding canned food.
I wish I had pictures of Puddles when she was on a mostly kibble diet (high grain, low meat protien) and now on a 90% canned, Wellness grainfree. Last year we thought she was not going to live another year or two, her fur was greasy and thinning out. Within 6 months of changing her diet, she now looks like she did when she was 2 years old and has gotten more active.
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