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Old July 2nd, 2013, 11:30 AM
yorgo67 yorgo67 is offline
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At my wits end...

Greetings all!

I am a newbie to this message board. However, I am not a newbie when it comes to my cat Samson, a DLH, declawed fixed male senior mostly indoor (99% of his life has been indoor) with a few health concerns.

My cat is 14 years old and he's an excellent fellow. He is a large cat but not in the way you are thinking. He measures 24 inches long (yes you read that correctly) and weighs between 9.4kg and 9.9 kg, at least for the past 4 months.

He is an excellent companion to all in his family. He is a little large still for his frame, but we're working on trimming him down, mostly so that he can have a better quality life into his twilight years.

When he was 5, he almost died due to blockage - twice. It was a close call but after a stay at the vet's for about a week, he recovered. He was on a special diet for years, Hill's C/D and it did wonders for him. Until he was fed human food by my parents. Yes, I know its a no-no and I fought with my parents for years about it and only since November 2012, has he been human food free.

I won't bore you with his entire life story, but, I will disclose some information that I feel is important.

He is still overweight and as such, he's on Hill's metabolic dry food. According to my vet, he needs to be around the 7-7.5 kg weight range, in order to offset the pain he experiences from his IVDD. Although not severe, it did cause Samson to develop the hunch back and it definitely did cause him to become constipated from the stress of the pain. And therein lies his two biggest health issues.

I cannot afford to have the surgery to correct the IVDD in his lower back. Part of me doesn't want to do it either, well, because he is old and I know he hates going to the vet, period.

As such, he is on metacam for cats (I know, I know) and he also takes lactulose for his stool issues.

His blood work shows he is in the healthy range for every single measurable, EXCEPT glucose, where, he is slightly low (2.8 mmol/L) versus the healthy range (3.5-9.4 mmol/L).

So, there it is my pet's health history in a nutshell. He still grooms himself regularly, and he does get to go outside in our fenced in backyard with supervision almost everyday for exercise. He is allowed to eat cat grass and its a better option than lawn grass which he used to devour. He also does vomit from time to time but since we've got him on the lactulose, he only vomits 2-3 times a month, which according to my vet is actually "normal."

Can anyone recommend better, safer and healthier option than Metacam? I am also reluctant to take Samson off lactulose until I find a better option for him with respect to that too. Believe me when I tell you, I have spent A LOT of money on my cat from Dec 2012 to just recently. If I didn't love him, I wouldn't have gone to these lengths to help him but I also know that cat lovers and cat owners in the know are good people and any information about healthier options would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.
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Old July 2nd, 2013, 01:54 PM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Originally Posted by yorgo67 View Post
Greetings all!
Hi to you and Samson! Welcome to the board.

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Originally Posted by yorgo67 View Post
He was on a special diet for years, Hill's C/D and it did wonders for him.
Unfortunately Hill's C/D is not that great in terms of ingredients, and can cause weight gain in many cats because of the high carb content. Plus, the logic behind feeing a DRY food to a cat with urinary tract issues, which is largely caused by a lack of moisture in the diet, is way off base. So many vets don't seem to understand that, sad to say. Here's some info for you on the topic of diet and how it relates to urinary tract health in cats: http://catinfo.org/?link=urinarytracthealth


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Until he was fed human food by my parents. Yes, I know its a no-no and I fought with my parents for years about it and only since November 2012, has he been human food free.
Depending on what that "human food" was, it may actually not have been so bad for Samson. Nothing better for an obligate carnivore than fresh meat. Of course it also needs to be nutritionally balanced if it makes up more than 15% of a cat's food intake, but otherwise the fear-mongering by vets and pet food companies about feeding table-scraps to pets is way overblown. (Unless those table-scraps happen to be French fries and chocolate cake.... ).


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He is still overweight and as such, he's on Hill's metabolic dry food.
Another lousy Hill's product that really isn't going to improve Samson's health in any way. Here are the ingredients:
Chicken By-Product Meal, Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Dried Tomato Pomace, Flaxseed, Dried Beet Pulp, Chicken Liver Flavor, Coconut Oil, Pork Fat ....
Very little actual meat, and tons of cheap filler. Again, a wet food diet consisting of high quality meat-based protein and minimal starch is going to go a lot further towards helping Samson lose weight. More info on that: http://catinfo.org/?link=felineobesity

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As such, he is on metacam for cats (I know, I know) and he also takes lactulose for his stool issues.
Depending on the amount of pain he is in, you might want to consider a safer med like Buprenex instead of Metacam, or more holistic options such as acupuncture or osteopathy. Perhaps Adequan injections and a heated pet bed would also help.

For constipation, I personally prefer Restoralax over lactulose for cats. Much easier to administer (comes in a tasteless powder that can be mixed with food) and easier on their digestive system. Slippery elm bark powder is also a good choice and can help with hairballs: http://www.littlebigcat.com/health/slippery-elm/


Hope that helps a bit. Good luck to you and Samson, and if you have a pic of the big guy, we'd love to see him!
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  #3  
Old July 3rd, 2013, 05:07 PM
yorgo67 yorgo67 is offline
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Thanks sugarcatmom! Wow, you've given me a number of items to consider and in all honesty, I will be probably going this route.

With respect to his crystal issue which hasn't resurfaced by the way, should I get him a canned version of metabolic? I would love to be able to switch him from dry to canned but I feel like he might protest. He is kind of set in his ways. For instance, he feels he can wake me up at 4:30 am and meow his way to a snack. I would like to avoid this very late night/early morning demands so that I can sleep too!

The human food that he was being fed was anything from plain chicken (which I feel is fine) to canned tuna (which I don't think is good or bad) to other stuff like cucumber, ice cream, carrots, etc., etc. He does get to have salmon from time to time and only a little bit, about an inch long.

His vet told me that he can consume 1-1 1/4 cups of dry metabolic daily. Since he is a vet, I never questioned his methods. However, if I try to incorporate Feline's pride or some other reasonable substitute that will allow him to maintain good UT health from your suggestion, I won't know how much wet canned to give him to get him from 9.4kg down to 7-7.4kg safely. I realize that there is a safe way to get him to lose weight and I will have to play with him some more too. The problem with the playing is that he seems to want to dictate what the terms are for playing and when. A little advice would be nice.

Thanks for the Buprenex recommendation. Getting him off this Metacam junk causes me to lose sleep! Now, I live just east of Toronto Ont., and I need to know how to go about getting Buprenex and where and at what cost too.

Also, thanks for the Restoralax recommendation too. Again, where should I go about getting this product for my feline.

Thanks.

Last edited by yorgo67; July 3rd, 2013 at 05:28 PM.
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  #4  
Old July 3rd, 2013, 05:16 PM
yorgo67 yorgo67 is offline
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@sugarcatmom: Here is the most recent photo of Samson
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  #5  
Old July 4th, 2013, 04:39 PM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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What a lovely guy Samson is! Such big furry feet.

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With respect to his crystal issue which hasn't resurfaced by the way, should I get him a canned version of metabolic?
That would be a better choice than the dry, but the ingredients still aren't ideal:
Water, Pork Liver, Pork By-Products, Corn Flour, Powdered Cellulose, Corn Starch, Chicken, Flaxseed, Tomato Pomace, Natural Flavor, Corn Gluten Meal,

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I would love to be able to switch him from dry to canned but I feel like he might protest. He is kind of set in his ways.
For sure that can be a factor, but I firmly believe pretty much any cat can eventually be converted to a better diet with enough persistence and perseverance. It took me many months, maybe even a year, to get my then 10 yr old cat switched over to all wet food. He just turned 20 in May, and absolutely looooooooves his raw meals now. Here are some tips on how to transition:
http://feline-nutrition.org/nutritio...-to-a-raw-diet
http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites...et-part-1.aspx
http://healthypets.mercola.com/sites...et-part-2.aspx
http://www.catinfo.org/#Transitionin...o_Canned_Food_

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For instance, he feels he can wake me up at 4:30 am and meow his way to a snack. I would like to avoid this very late night/early morning demands so that I can sleep too!
A timed feeder might help with that, or perhaps a bedtime snack to tide him over for longer. Also if you never give in to his demands, the behaviour should eventually extinguish on it's own. But you have to be 100% consistent.

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Originally Posted by yorgo67 View Post
His vet told me that he can consume 1-1 1/4 cups of dry metabolic daily.
The Metabolic Dry is 289 k/cal per cup, so you can use that as a reference point for adjusting the amount you feed him if you incorporate other foods. You might also find that he's more satiated with a higher protein food, and therefore doesn't bug you in the wee hours of the morning for snacks.

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I won't know how much wet canned to give him to get him from 9.4kg down to 7-7.4kg safely. I realize that there is a safe way to get him to lose weight
Definitely don't want him losing weight too fast. Here is a reasonable guideline that should help: http://www.catinfo.org/?link=felineo...Much_Do_I_Feed


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The problem with the playing is that he seems to want to dictate what the terms are for playing and when.
Typical cat! Something to make a note of is when Samson is most naturally active on his own. For my cats, that tends to be first thing in the morning (before their breakfast) and in the evening before bed. In fact, if you can make a routine of playing with him before feeding him (make him "work" for his food - kind of like how he would have to hunt for prey in the wild), that might encourage a bit more activity out of him. But obviously nothing that would cause him more pain from the IVDD.

You could also try different types of toys, whether they be wand or fishing rod style, furry balls or mice for tossing, crumpled balls of paper or tinfoil, milk jug rings, etc. Even something like a tunnel he can run through, or a paper bag to pounce on.

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Thanks for the Buprenex recommendation. Getting him off this Metacam junk causes me to lose sleep! Now, I live just east of Toronto Ont., and I need to know how to go about getting Buprenex and where and at what cost too.
Can only get the Buprenex (generic name is buprenorphine) at the vet, and it is pricey. Comes as a liquid that you administer orally (it's supposed to work best sublingually, so doesn't have to be swallowed, just squirted in the cheek pouch), or it can also be injected subcutaneously. My vet gets a long-lasting version that's good for about 72 hrs per shot.

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Also, thanks for the Restoralax recommendation too. Again, where should I go about getting this product for my feline.
You can get Restoralax at most drug stores, like Shopper's. Start with just 1/4 tsp mixed in some wet food (or plain chicken baby food) a couple times a day and adjust from there depending on the results. Takes about 24 hrs for it to take effect.
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Old July 4th, 2013, 04:44 PM
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I should mention that because buprenorphine is opiod-based, it can cause drowsiness and spacey-ness. Start with as small a dose as possible to deal with the pain without causing too much of a dopey reaction.

And do look into acupuncture if that's an option near you. It could also help with the constipation!
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Old July 5th, 2013, 12:42 AM
yorgo67 yorgo67 is offline
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Opiate based? That can't be too healthy. Now I'm not so sure I want to go that route, especially since I asked the vet about it earlier today and he said it was much more expensive than the Metacam option.

Is there a brand of canned cat food that I could start feeding Samson with and also not have his crystals return in the process? I don't want his crystals coming back and I'm sure he doesn't want it either.

I've been doing some reading about switching from dry to canned and eventually raw. This might be a daunting task for my old guy. It seems so much more easier for kittens or young cats and the like. I'm not so confident my guy would adjust so easily, since he's been through a lot. I won't say he's dainty but I do want to go easy on him.
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Old July 5th, 2013, 07:37 AM
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sugarcatmom sugarcatmom is offline
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Opiate based? That can't be too healthy.
It's actually much better tolerated in cats than NSAIDS like Metacam.
http://www.sunnysidevetclinic.com/ar...renorphine.htm

But yes, it is also more expensive. Although so is treating renal failure.


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Now I'm not so sure I want to go that route, especially since I asked the vet about it earlier today and he said it was much more expensive than the Metacam option.
Acupuncture might really be a good choice then.

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Is there a brand of canned cat food that I could start feeding Samson with and also not have his crystals return in the process?
Anything with good quality meat (no by-products), no fish, and minimal to no grains. The reason he probably had crystals in the first place was due to a kibble diet, so merely switching over to wet food should do the trick (as per Dr. Pierson's article linked to above).

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I've been doing some reading about switching from dry to canned and eventually raw. This might be a daunting task for my old guy.
You never know till you try.
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Old July 7th, 2013, 11:31 PM
tiggy2 tiggy2 is offline
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[QUOTE=yorgo67;1059293]Opiate based? That can't be too healthy. Now I'm not so sure I want to go that route, especially since I asked the vet about it earlier today and he said it was much more expensive than the Metacam option.


Hi just an experience with the buprenorphine I'd like to pass on.
We had a cat Nasha who had very bad arthritis, to the point of barely getting out of bed. We originally had her on steroids, which I think all they did was put weight on. We moved provinces and our new vet suggested buprenorphine, yes it's very pricy but the difference was amazing. She was up and moving around, a lot more interested in life and actually had a great summer last year, outside basking in the sun and "hunting" bugs...she was 18 and had been on deaths door for about 5 years. The buprenorphine gave her a better quality of life for 6 months than the steroids did for many years. You can always give it a try for a month and see how your kitty does.
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Old July 8th, 2013, 12:04 PM
yorgo67 yorgo67 is offline
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I am having good success with Samson regarding switching him from dry to canned food. I think for the short term, I am going to be sticking with the metabolic canned as its composition is vastly different than its dry food counterpart.
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