Dry Food - if so terrible, why do vets suggest it?

chloenola

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Good evening. Everything we read says no dry for diabetics. We read that the vets are stuck in the past and just don't get it. My Chloe is trying to get back into remission and is not on insulin. My vet is bright! She said although prescription dry has carbs it has fiber and it helps to regulate. Chloe is only 7.6 lbs. She is not a fan of cans. We have tried every pate, she licks juice. My mama has been cooking steak for her. She eats small pieces. We have tried. So what am I to do - do I give dry in small amounts? Do I ignore my vet and let Chloe waste away? My vet had to put her new Libre on today in the same spot b/c she has no meat on her bones. What would you do?
 

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Hi, Chloenola. I'm so sorry your kitty is having issues. I'm not a vet, but I'll share some things I learned with my cats.

We had a sugar kitty who was difficult to transition to wet food. We eventually got him there, but it took a while. We did things like put some kibble under the wet food so he had to eat through the wet to get to the dry. The kibble got less and less until he was just eating wet. I have read that kibble has flavor enhancers added to keep kitties addicted. Kitty Crack, some folks call it. Even small amounts can keep her addicted, so if you can get her away from it, keep her away.

Will your vet give an appetite stimulant? We had an ataxic kitty who dropped a lot of weight. We used a cream in her ears for a while. Sorry, I don't recall the name off-hand.

Young Again is a zero carb kibble that's pretty pricey but it helped us for a while. They sent us some small sample packs to try. One worked for for our kitty, although we still transitioned to all wet food.

Are you feeding wet food with chunks, shreds or gravy? Those tend to be higher in carb. Pate is the way to go and she might not lick the juice so much.

I don't know why vets are so in love with Hill's and other prescription junk food. I think the reps paint a rosy picture of happy kitties eating the junk, and vets don't take the time to research the ingredients. I have an overweight cat that the vet thought should be on a Hill's food. I put it out for my clan to eat and it triggered issues in two of my kitties who have been on meds ever since. When the vet brings in a bag of Hill's, I just flat refuse it. I tell them I don't eat gluten, beaks, or feet, and I won't feed it to my cats.

I have one kitty who cries for canned food but only licks the juice, even with pate. I started buying Tiki Cat Velvet Mousse for her. It's like kitty pudding, and she laps it up with no leftovers. Might be worth a try.

If you haven't been to felinediabetes.com, I recommend it. There's a wealth of information there about diabetes in cats. We learned a lot about taking care of Bubba. Sadly, he eventually developed pancreatic cancer (which I wonder if it was the underlying cause of his diabetes) and we had to say goodbye.

Learn all you can about the condition; you may end up teaching your vet a thing or two. Good luck with your sugar kitty!
 

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I have often wondered this same question about Hill’s. Are they somehow in league with Vet Clinics everywhere? This is a really good post topic…we have come a long way since I was a kid with weirdly dyed dry cat food, but it’s still so important to question all those mystery ingredients. One vet told me Hill’s provides a sort of baseline for many cats due to its limited ingredients, but mine flat out refused it. Midget’s Mom has some GREAT ideas here—- I just wanted to chime in and say thank you for posting this. I would bet there are many other ways your cat could get more fiber than by eating dry. I do believe one more push -by all of us- to hold vets and food manufacturers accountable & we will see a brave new world open up for kitties and their gut health. Good luck figuring this out, and please let us know what happens!
 

Babypinkweeb

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I think this can be a touchy topic for some vets/pet owners, but to be honest I think it's funny we don't scrutinize the pet food industry to the same level as human food. If we hear about medical schools, doctors and hospitals being funded by Nestle or Coca Cola, it would be huge news. Reminds me of when people finally realized big sugar was lobbying hard in creating the anti-fat campaign in order to hide the health issues related to excess sugar in processed foods. But for some reason we are totally happy with pet food companies funding vet schools.

I especially think it's hilarious that pet food companies claim their food is good because they have vets on board... isn't it a perfect loop? Besides, if you look hard enough and pay enough money, I'm sure people food companies can find human doctors who make anti-scientific claims for them. Heck, every toothpaste commercial has a dentist saying they only trust this brand/it's the one all dentists recommend. It's funny these days people are so aware of what's good and bad in their food but will just blindly believe a commercial or a vet without a second thought when it comes to pet food.
 

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The thing is that pet nutrition really hasn't been updated in many years. I've had many vets say, "There's no reason for them to have dry." (Usually in terms of our dry food addict who literally lost weight after dental surgery because he went on strike during the last 24 hours).

On one hand, we've come a long way. Cats now live, in part due to dry food, a significantly longer life span on average than before we had cat specific foods.

On the other hand, we have that people are now investing in their pets more. They live longer and we are beginning to discover the effects certain foods have in older ages.

Let's circle back around: cats are more likely than dogs to go without vet care. It's also very dangerous for a cat to go without food for more than 24 hours. As a vet, knowing it's already difficult enough to get a cat proper vet care, are you likely to try and push for a diet that people already think is "too expensive", until a cat needs it medically? Not likely. Not when that could lead to them returning less frequently or stopping to bring their cat in altogether.

I don't think it's as much conspiracy as people say.
 

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As for your cat specifically, have you tried things like Pure Bites toppers, Churu or Catit tubes? Get her liking the texture of something wet. There are so many different textures out there! I would also recommend trying to use a small syringe and putting a little bit in her mouth (the smallest bit to get her to try). After something with our late cat, I had to syringe feed for 24 hours, then she took off eating it off the syringe herself.

You can try rehydrating the kibble with water and see if she will eat it that way.

You can try a freeze dried food rehydrated.
 

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I strongly suspect my Betty White was a kibble addict before she came to me.

The first two wet foods that Betty actually seems to enjoy are both prescription foods. So as A Alldara said, it's probably not so much a conspiracy as it is a convenience: eating is better than not eating. If dry food is what gets the cat eating, that's a lesser evil than a hunger strike from a fussy or sick cat.

The two foods Betty likes are Hills I/D in the chicken and veggies stew--which has fiber but it also has rice--and Hills A/D which is like kitty crack junk food. I wouldn't feed this solely unless you have a sick cat who won't eat anything else. Even then, I would start to mix this with another food as soon as you can get them to eat the mix. The reason is this is a high calorie kinda junky food meant for sick cats to recover quickly. It is not meant to be a forever food. But because it is meant to entice sick cats into eating, it can be very effective for disguising medicine or emergency restarts.

My suggestion is to ask your vet for a can of Hills A/D. Offer her a small amount. If she likes it, you can offer a little more. But then I would start looking for foods that are good for her diabetes that you can entice her to eat by mixing in the A/D. For Betty, I find a 1:2 ratio of one part A/D to two parts I/D works best for her. It's just rich enough that she gets enough calories without being too rich that she gains too much weight or eats herself sick.
 
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chloenola

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Hi, Chloenola. I'm so sorry your kitty is having issues. I'm not a vet, but I'll share some things I learned with my cats.

We had a sugar kitty who was difficult to transition to wet food. We eventually got him there, but it took a while. We did things like put some kibble under the wet food so he had to eat through the wet to get to the dry. The kibble got less and less until he was just eating wet. I have read that kibble has flavor enhancers added to keep kitties addicted. Kitty Crack, some folks call it. Even small amounts can keep her addicted, so if you can get her away from it, keep her away.

Will your vet give an appetite stimulant? We had an ataxic kitty who dropped a lot of weight. We used a cream in her ears for a while. Sorry, I don't recall the name off-hand.

Young Again is a zero carb kibble that's pretty pricey but it helped us for a while. They sent us some small sample packs to try. One worked for for our kitty, although we still transitioned to all wet food.

Are you feeding wet food with chunks, shreds or gravy? Those tend to be higher in carb. Pate is the way to go and she might not lick the juice so much.

I don't know why vets are so in love with Hill's and other prescription junk food. I think the reps paint a rosy picture of happy kitties eating the junk, and vets don't take the time to research the ingredients. I have an overweight cat that the vet thought should be on a Hill's food. I put it out for my clan to eat and it triggered issues in two of my kitties who have been on meds ever since. When the vet brings in a bag of Hill's, I just flat refuse it. I tell them I don't eat gluten, beaks, or feet, and I won't feed it to my cats.

I have one kitty who cries for canned food but only licks the juice, even with pate. I started buying Tiki Cat Velvet Mousse for her. It's like kitty pudding, and she laps it up with no leftovers. Might be worth a try.

If you haven't been to felinediabetes.com, I recommend it. There's a wealth of information there about diabetes in cats. We learned a lot about taking care of Bubba. Sadly, he eventually developed pancreatic cancer (which I wonder if it was the underlying cause of his diabetes) and we had to say goodbye.

Learn all you can about the condition; you may end up teaching your vet a thing or two. Good luck with your sugar kitty!
Thanks so much for the reply. Chloe was diagnosed one year ago and she has been on pate since that time. We have tried every brand and flavor under the rainbow. Young Again Mature Zero arrives tomorrow! My vet didn't sound pleased but we are going to try it in lieu of the Hills M/D, Her number have been right around 200.
 
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chloenola

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I strongly suspect my Betty White was a kibble addict before she came to me.

The first two wet foods that Betty actually seems to enjoy are both prescription foods. So as A Alldara said, it's probably not so much a conspiracy as it is a convenience: eating is better than not eating. If dry food is what gets the cat eating, that's a lesser evil than a hunger strike from a fussy or sick cat.

The two foods Betty likes are Hills I/D in the chicken and veggies stew--which has fiber but it also has rice--and Hills A/D which is like kitty crack junk food. I wouldn't feed this solely unless you have a sick cat who won't eat anything else. Even then, I would start to mix this with another food as soon as you can get them to eat the mix. The reason is this is a high calorie kinda junky food meant for sick cats to recover quickly. It is not meant to be a forever food. But because it is meant to entice sick cats into eating, it can be very effective for disguising medicine or emergency restarts.

My suggestion is to ask your vet for a can of Hills A/D. Offer her a small amount. If she likes it, you can offer a little more. But then I would start looking for foods that are good for her diabetes that you can entice her to eat by mixing in the A/D. For Betty, I find a 1:2 ratio of one part A/D to two parts I/D works best for her. It's just rich enough that she gets enough calories without being too rich that she gains too much weight or eats herself sick.
She gave me a script for m/d - what's a/d for?
 

daftcat75

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She gave me a script for m/d - what's a/d for?
A/D is a recovery food. It’s meant to be highly digestible and extremely appealing to get sick cats eating again. But it’s also a smooth pate and high in calories making it an easy food for syringe feeding or feeding tubes. For Betty, we’re still working through the diagnostics to figure out what inflammation in the gut means for her. She’s taking drugs for nausea, acid control, and appetite. She is mostly stable. But we still need answers. Next up: endoscopy with biopsy. Ooof! I think I’m more concerned about the cost than the procedure. Anyway, until we get some answers, she gets a little bit of A/D with her I/D to keep her calories up and keep her eating all her food. And then some. 🐷👍. She’ll eat different amounts at night (3 small meals) vs the day (two small meals.) To make sure she gets enough at night, that’s how we arrived at the one 3 oz I/D stew can (80 grams) plus 40 grams of A/D. During the day, the sink gets one of her portions while she sleeps it all off. 🐷🐷💤
 
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Casper's vet will tell you that canned or homemade food is best if you can get your cat to eat it but if your cat won't eat it, your cat won't eat it and there might be little to nothing you can do to change their minds. If all they'll eat is dry food then just make sure they have plenty of water at all times.

All the special foods are on display in the lobby as you walk in, right alongside all the other pet products. She's got some of the natural products with a mixture of commercial brands. If you want some of them, she'll sell them to you but, if you ask her, she'll tell you which store brands she thinks are best.

Casper eats 50/50 wet and dry food. He eats regular, old Purina Cat Chow Complete for the dry food and a "Canned Food du jour."
This is after a vet consultation on the matter. That's what Casper eats and it never seems to hurt him."

I knew a guy who ate a plain bologna sandwich with mustard and washed it down with a Diet Coke, every day for lunch at work, for decades. I'm getting old and I thought HE was gettin' old. Bologna sandwiches never seemed to hurt him.
 

louisstools

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I suspect it's that having large variety of high quality pet food is a relatively recent thing...if you go back a decade and the variety we have just isn't there. Vets got a lot to keep up on and perhaps this is an area that is a bit lacking but will sort itself out over the years as more younger vets "grow up" in this era of plentiful cat food.

I speculate this because it seems similar to the whole dental thing. 20 years ago it was unheard of to care about pet's dental health. 10 years ago you would just make fun of that person who brushed their pet's teeth. Now it's considered a completely normal thing for pet owners to do.
 

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I think this can be a touchy topic for some vets/pet owners, but to be honest I think it's funny we don't scrutinize the pet food industry to the same level as human food. If we hear about medical schools, doctors and hospitals being funded by Nestle or Coca Cola, it would be huge news. Reminds me of when people finally realized big sugar was lobbying hard in creating the anti-fat campaign in order to hide the health issues related to excess sugar in processed foods. But for some reason we are totally happy with pet food companies funding vet schools.

I especially think it's hilarious that pet food companies claim their food is good because they have vets on board... isn't it a perfect loop? Besides, if you look hard enough and pay enough money, I'm sure people food companies can find human doctors who make anti-scientific claims for them. Heck, every toothpaste commercial has a dentist saying they only trust this brand/it's the one all dentists recommend. It's funny these days people are so aware of what's good and bad in their food but will just blindly believe a commercial or a vet without a second thought when it comes to pet food.
It is also disgusting to require a prescription to buy food in the USA. It's food people, not medicine. No one's going to buy it for a healthy cat.
 

louisstools

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It is also disgusting to require a prescription to buy food in the USA. It's food people, not medicine. No one's going to buy it for a healthy cat.
Oh man...this times a thousand. I've spent the better part of the past SIX MONTHS dealing with the ramifications of taking my cat off the rx food she had been on for over a decade b/c a newer vet at the practice we've been going to for 11 years wouldn't rx us the kibble my girl needed. Six months of essentially being in a constant state of "diet transition" ... trying to find food she thought tasted good and could mechanically eat ...then dealing with the reasons she was on the rx diet returning...then trying to switch her back to the rx food TWICE after I found a vet that gave us the rx. Freaking insane...I lost half a year because of this.
 

furmonster mom

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It is also disgusting to require a prescription to buy food in the USA. It's food people, not medicine. No one's going to buy it for a healthy cat.
From what I understand, rx food is not considered a fully balanced food. Oftentimes, the food is created by excluding/including certain ingredients/nutrients in order to address a medical issue (such as a low Phosphorus food for kidney issues). Which is why it requires a ’script. It is indeed not intended for healthy animals, and generally is not intended for long term consumption.

That being said, several years ago I learned just how enmeshed into the veterinary field the pet food industry has become. Purina, Hills, and Royal Canin all provide various materials on nutrition to veterinary schools. They also subsidize veterinary schools with grants and other finances. I once came across a document that showed Royal Canin ”donated” 1M to a school for a seat on the board (wish I’d saved it at the time 🤦‍♀️).
So, yes, though it’s been several years since I did that research, I have no reason to think anything has changed.
 

daftcat75

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From what I understand, rx food is not considered a fully balanced food. Oftentimes, the food is created by excluding/including certain ingredients/nutrients in order to address a medical issue (such as a low Phosphorus food for kidney issues). Which is why it requires a ’script. It is indeed not intended for healthy animals, and generally is not intended for long term consumption.

That being said, several years ago I learned just how enmeshed into the veterinary field the pet food industry has become. Purina, Hills, and Royal Canin all provide various materials on nutrition to veterinary schools. They also subsidize veterinary schools with grants and other finances. I once came across a document that showed Royal Canin ”donated” 1M to a school for a seat on the board (wish I’d saved it at the time 🤦‍♀️).
So, yes, though it’s been several years since I did that research, I have no reason to think anything has changed.
I don’t think any of these prescription foods are unbalanced or incomplete. That would be trading one problem for a much more insidious problem further up the road. Rather, like you said, they have their recipes tweaked so that they may not be appropriate for healthy cats. A kidney diet may be lower in protein which, while it may still be nutritionally balanced and complete, it’s less appropriate for a healthy cat. The A/D (recovery food) is not meant to be a forever food. But the others are. It’s bad for business to make your customer sick. It’s also bad for business to sell your food to those it wasn’t formulated for. That’s why these foods are prescription. It’s not that you will make a healthy cat sick by feeding a prescription food. But that the food was not formulated for all cats. Think of it more like the life stage foods. It’s not that adult food or kitten food is inadequate for kittens and adults, respectively. But rather the foods were formulated with a more specific consumer base in mind.

All in all, I’d rather treat my kitty with diet over drugs. Sadly in my Betty’s case, I’m having to do both until we can get more answers on her gut inflammation. She’s been eating the I/D stew mixed with a little A/D pate to get the calories up to what she needs to regain and maintain her weight. These were the first two wet foods she actually seems eager to eat and does well on. 🐷👍
 

Mighty Orange

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From what I understand, rx food is not considered a fully balanced food. Oftentimes, the food is created by excluding/including certain ingredients/nutrients in order to address a medical issue (such as a low Phosphorus food for kidney issues). Which is why it requires a ’script. It is indeed not intended for healthy animals, and generally is not intended for long term consumption.

That being said, several years ago I learned just how enmeshed into the veterinary field the pet food industry has become. Purina, Hills, and Royal Canin all provide various materials on nutrition to veterinary schools. They also subsidize veterinary schools with grants and other finances. I once came across a document that showed Royal Canin ”donated” 1M to a school for a seat on the board (wish I’d saved it at the time 🤦‍♀️).
So, yes, though it’s been several years since I did that research, I have no reason to think anything has changed.
I disagree, it's all about $$$$.
 

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I think this can be a touchy topic for some vets/pet owners, but to be honest I think it's funny we don't scrutinize the pet food industry to the same level as human food. If we hear about medical schools, doctors and hospitals being funded by Nestle or Coca Cola, it would be huge news. Reminds me of when people finally realized big sugar was lobbying hard in creating the anti-fat campaign in order to hide the health issues related to excess sugar in processed foods. But for some reason we are totally happy with pet food companies funding vet schools.

I especially think it's hilarious that pet food companies claim their food is good because they have vets on board... isn't it a perfect loop? Besides, if you look hard enough and pay enough money, I'm sure people food companies can find human doctors who make anti-scientific claims for them. Heck, every toothpaste commercial has a dentist saying they only trust this brand/it's the one all dentists recommend. It's funny these days people are so aware of what's good and bad in their food but will just blindly believe a commercial or a vet without a second thought when it comes to pet food.
 

k-niner47

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Having spoken to a Manager/Cashier at a local Pet Valu store a lot, she would go on rants to me about how bad "Hills Science diet...." was, and she thought that they were a bad brand for cats. After that, we stopped buying Hills and saved $20/bag switching to Purina dry food instead. Our cat also likes coconut oil, and that helps it poop well. She also likes Olive oil, jam, butter, and honey, but we mainly feed it the dry Purina 99 percent of the time. Human food is not good for cats or dogs. She does have coconut oil daily, but never any butter, which is bad news for cats-IMO.
Pet Valu has become a profit machine, and 6 stores closed down in our neighborhood a few years ago....just like that.No warning was given. They all closed down within a week of each other because they were not making enough of a profit. I also suspect this may be going on with vets, but that's just an opinion.
 
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