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Old May 1st, 2011, 04:19 PM
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dbg10 dbg10 is offline
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Location: Ajax, Ontario
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Sorry for the delay in answering your very helpful post

Originally Posted by sugarcatmom View Post
Some canned foods are better than others, so it's too bad that you don't remember the brand. It could be a clue to what's triggering the crystals. For instance, fish is a no-no for cats with UT issues since it contains histamines that can promote inflammation of the bladder/urinary tract. And some canned foods still contain too much carb content or other inappropriate ingredients that promote crystal formation.
The reason I don't remember is I was trying different foods with him and the others and I don't remember which particular one it was that made things a lot worse. He has always been a very large cat which my vets estimate of 20 lbs at ideal weight. Sam has weighed much more than that since his brother was killed by a car several years ago and I swear he eats to compensate for the loss even though he has 2 other males and a female cat here in the house. His last weight was 24.7 lbs which is way too fat but he eats out of everyone's bowl which makes it difficult to control. My vet has said to isolate him in a room by himself, but I think he would die if he was isolated as he is such a people cat so I have resisted this method of forcing him to lose weight.

Originally Posted by sugarcatmom View Post
Do you remember what the wet food was then? What medication does he take during those incidents?

I wish I did remember the name of the food. The most recent food I tried was Wellness and all of the cats totally rejected it over a period of introducing it in very small amounts over a couple of weeks. They would eat around it.

Sam was given ampicillin as necessary when he had an infection but sent home with a prescription for "Buscopan" that I gave him when I saw that his urine was turning pink until it cleared again. He gave me trouble when I tried to give it to him when he didn't need it. If he needed it he would sit their quietly while I tossed it into the back of his throat.

Last year my vet switched him to "Phenoxybenzamine HCL" which didn't go over at all well. The first one he ate (it is soft and chewable) without a problem. The second one I had to smear that last half of it on his teeth to get him to eat it. After that it was a fight everytime I tried to give it to him to the point that if he saw the package he would hide and believe me trying to get a 20+ lb cat out of a hiding place is not easy. So I took him back to the vet and I asked her for the Buscopan again. She gave me a script for it that I had to fill at the drug store because it is no longer recommended for animals. She agreed that it was better to help him with a drug he would take than try to force him to take something he hated. So we have used the Buscopan as necessary since then and he has the same behaviour he did before, takes it easily when he knows he needs it and refuses it when he doesn't.

Originally Posted by sugarcatmom View Post
Do you know what type of crystals Sam is prone to? Struvite? Calcium Oxalate? Something else? This will help determine if there's a food that will help, or if there are supplements he should also be taking. For instance, some cats, even on a species appropriate diet, can't maintain a normal urine ph and need an acidifier added to their food to help keep it within range. When urine isn't acidic enough (consistently above 7.0), then struvite crystals tend to form. If urine is too acidic (consistently below 5.5), then calcium oxalate crystals can form. My suggestion would be to start monitoring Sam's urine ph at home, using test strips from a health food store. Ph can fluctuate throughout the day, so test at different times on different days to see what the trends are. If you need tips on getting a urine sample, let me know.
Sam has Struvite crystals. I didn't know that about certain cats needing a urine acidifier but Sam may be one of them. It certainly would help him when I get him off the SO. I know about the changes in Ph throughout the day. I will pick some Ph strips up the next time I'm at the health food store.

Originally Posted by sugarcatmom View Post
That's because it contains an acidifier to compensate for the tendency of cats eating high-carb kibble to have alkaline urine. It's kind of like adding anti-oxidants to cigarettes with the idea that they'll help prevent lung-cancer, when really, the solution is to stop smoking.
The ingredients of the SO are the following: Looking at the list I don't find it a particularly good food for any animal but it must do something because it has worked for Sam.

Chicken Meal, Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Corn, Chicken Fat, Natural Flavour, Soy Protein Isolate, Powdered Cellulose, Salt, Dried Egg Powder, Dried Brewer’s Yeast, Potassium Chloride, Fish Oil, Sodium Bisulphate, Calcium Sulphate, Soybean Oil, Taurine, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Vitamins (DL-Alpha-Tocopherol [Source of Vitamin E], Niacin, Biotin, Riboflavin [Vitamin B2], D-Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride [Vitamin B6], Vitamin A Acetate, Thiamine Mononitrate [Vitamin B1], Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 Supplement and Vitamin D3 Supplement), Trace Minerals (Zinc Oxide, Zinc Proteinate, Ferrous Sulphate, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Copper Sulphate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate and Sodium Selenite) and Marigold Extract (Source of Lutein). Naturally Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, Rosemary Extract and Citric Acid. Approximately 292 kcal/cup, 386 kcal/100 g, 76 g/cup

Analysis table Amount
Crude Protein (g/1000 kcal) 89.4
Crude Fat (g/1000 kcal) 40.2
Crude Fibre (g/1000 kcal) 6.2
EPA/DHA (g/1000 kcal) 0.7

Minerals Amount
Calcium (g/1000 kcal) 2.3
Phosphorus (g/1000 kcal) 2.1
Magnesium (g/1000 kcal) 0.2
Sodium (g/1000 kcal) 3.5
Potassium (g/1000 kcal) 2.7
Other nutrients Amount
Taurine (g/1000 kcal) 1.0

Originally Posted by sugarcatmom View Post
Not that unusual. Cats have a built-in suspicion of new foods as a defense mechanism to ingesting something toxic. This can be overcome, with patience and VERY gradual transitions (sometimes even taking several months).

Another part of the problem is that kibble is loaded with flavour enhancers in order to get your cat addicted to these poor quality foods. Pet food manufacturers make the biggest profit from dry food. They want your cat to love it so much that they don't want to eat anything else.
I'm aware of the flavour enhancers in dry food. All of them definitely like their wet food but they also still like their dry no matter what it is. They tend to gravitate to the SO though which makes it very expensive to feed them at $75 per 8 kg bag incl tax. plus the wet food.

The problem comes when I'm trying to fatten Smokey up because of his digestive problems and weight loss. The only canned food that he is able to tolerate is Merrick's Grammy's Pot Pie or Turducken which he doesn't like as much. We still don't know why he's losing weight I need to have an xray done. It's hard to have one so skinny and the other so fat and try to get them fed appropriately when there are also 2 other cats in the house so far with no problems.

Originally Posted by sugarcatmom View Post
Definitely not healthy. Quite dangerous, in fact. There are better and easier ways to switch foods, some tips which you can find here:

Also watch these excellent videos by a vet for suggestions on how to convert kibble addicts:
Thanks for those links. The videos are really great I have been introducing just a tiny bit of food (about 1/8th of a tsp) and mixing it into the old food but they seem to find it and eat around it. It is really weird that they can find it. If they accept the 1/8 then I move to 1/4 and so on. If they accept it at one point and refuse it at the next point I drop it back to the most recent amount they accepted. But that's when they refuse to eat it at all. This is what happened with the Wellness chicken. I even started them all over again with no Wellness in the dish for a couple of days and then started adding it again with the 1/8th tsp and they refused to eat any of their food until I gave them it without Wellness at all. This has happened with other foods as well but I persevered longer with Wellness because I knew it was good food. This was months before the Wellness recall.

Originally Posted by sugarcatmom View Post
You can also use the kibble addiction to your advantage. By pulverizing it and sprinkling it on top of canned food, you can entice Sam into trying new foods. Once he gets used to the different smell and texture, you can decrease the amount of powdered dry on top.
Smart boy. I'd stay far away from fish.
That's a great idea...thanks

Originally Posted by sugarcatmom View Post
There really is no such thing. For one, "high quality" and "dry food" are oxymorons. Instead of trying to find something else for the interim, I would just convert Sam over to wet food using the SO until you can eventually eliminate it.
He likes all types of wet food (other than Wellness) so that isn't a problem. What I want to do is avoid any wet food that will make his crystals worse. They use to talk about the ash content of food all the time but I haven't heard that for a very long time. What I guess I need to know is what wet foods or types of wet foods to avoid. (like fish to start with)

Originally Posted by sugarcatmom View Post
Any meat-based, fish-free, grain-free wet food with muscle meat instead of by-products would be a good choice. Adding extra water to the food is also recommended. You want to flush out those crystals if they do form. Monitoring urine ph and adding a measured amount of an acidifier (L-methionine for example) if needed will also help.
Thanks for this it is a great starting point for choosing a wet food. Do I buy the L-methionine at a health food store or do pet food stores carry it?

Thanks so much SCM this is great I can now look into what foods meet his needs and buy some L-methionine as I don't suppose it can hurt him.

Do you have any suggestions on how to deal with both Smokey and Sam's feeding problems at the same time. I want Sam to drop some weight if at all possible and I really want Smokey to gain some weight. I haven't had him weighed lately but I know he's lighter than when he was last weighed.

Thanks both SCM and L4H for the suggestion to add water to their wet food. I do add water and they have bowls of water throughout the house that is changed regularly because Raggs needs fresh water available all the time.
Willing Slave to: Sam 17 yrs; Bailey 14 yrs; and Smokey 10 yrs.
R.I.P. Raggs 1997-2012 ; Pepper 1997-2009 ; Tiger 2000 - 2014;
"Please do not breed or buy while shelter pets are left to die"
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