Food to Help with Digestive Issues


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May 27, 2016
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I have a cat who has soft stool to diarrhea. I own 3 cats. They grew up on Nutro Indoor Chicken and Rice. I hadn't known about quality of food nor ingredient considerations at that time. I then transitioned them to Solid Gold Indigo Moon. They were on that for about a year, but one of my female cats had digestive issues (including soft stool) on it. So I moved them back to Nutro. I then looked around and found out Origen is the "gold standard" of hard food. So I started feeding them Acana (their version of an "indoor" formula, with slightly less protein). My cats gained more weight rapidly. Then, my boy started having digestive issues. I saw multiple vets, and they were incapable of offering me anything other than Hill's Science Diet...Digestive Issues? I can't remember what it's exactly called. I first tried probiotics, but that made his stool become pure liquid. So I mixed in the Science Diet with the Acana and fed him that. (By the way, my cat, when the Hill's ran out, was begging for it. So in addition to it's ingredients being low quality crap, there is something in it that is addictive.) Now I have transitioned them to Wellness Indoor Chicken. I am also considering Wellness Core Indoor Chicken. My boy refuses to eat wet food, no matter how I offer it. I admit, I have not been overly aggressive on this issue yet, since I still haven't figured out a hard food that does work for him. (P.S. I have paid for all the blood-work and multiple vet visits and they have all said there is nothing wrong with him physically. And I am tired of paying for vets to tell me to just put them on Science Diet. It makes me irrationally angry.)

1. I have asked this question before and was told I was wrong, but I am seeing a consistent trend. Can high-protein diets cause these digestive issues? If so, what is the line of too much protein?

2. The other 2 cats will eat wet food when it is offered. Is that the reason that he is the one having problems?

3. This question is not directly related to the above. Since I have had to clean his behind, I have noticed brown stuff in the fur around his urethra. When I Google it, all that comes up is a UTI if there is blood, which I don't think there is. What is that? Is it dried urine? Is it feces somehow? What should I be doing about it? 

4. What food is appropriate? I know that cats can't digest carbs and it's bad for their long-term health. Is there an in between? Is there something that is less protein but also less-to-none filler? Is there a food that I haven't known to consider? Thanks!

dr rachel

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Oct 10, 2016
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1) Yes. Many high protein dry foods are also high in fat, and this is probably the origin of the diarrhea is susceptible cats.

2) No

3) It is portable liquid stool that has run down from his perianal region to his prepuce. The brown color seems to be the tip-off.

4) Cats digest carbs well.  However, excessive carbs seem to give cats trouble in terms of insulin release and are thought to be a contributing factor to the development of diabetes mellitus in susceptible cats.  I have  no best answer for you. It is trial and error and each diet you try can take weeks to decide if it helps.  Diarrhea suggests he has more of a colitis, which can be related to a true food allergy. But a large subset of affected cats actually benefit from increasing fiber in their diet.  So to that extent, feeding a dry food that is for weight loss and contains fiber in the neighborhood of 10-11% may be helpful.  Some cats may be responding/allergic  to the protein source and trying a limited antigen diet that contains one protein and one carbohydrate source may be helpful.   Food like Natural Balance salmon/green pea or venison/green would be something to consider.