Grain Free + Cardiomyopathy

Baz84

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Nov 18, 2020
Messages
47
Purraise
20
Okay – I’m sure this has been discussed. I have my cats on grain free wet food. I’ve met with 4 vets so far during the course of my cats’ life. They all said to avoid grain free food because it’s linked to “heart disease”. I assume cardiomyopathy. One of my cats is a Maine Coon (other Siamese) and this is a risk with that breed.

From what I THOUGHT I knew – grain free sometimes substitute grains with legumes (potatoes, peas, carrots etc) which inhibit taurine absorption which can lead to cardiomyopathy. Now the issue is – almost every grain free food has SOMETHING in it. Raw is the healthiest – but that’s not something I can do right. So now I’m wondering what I should do. I’m kinda hitting a road block here and I hate the thought that I might be passively killing/shortening my cat’s lives. I guess hearing that 4th vet really scared me.


Hoping to hear some opinions.
 

silent meowlook

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Nov 10, 2014
Messages
850
Purraise
1,342
There are canned foods that don’t have legumes. Try Dr Lisa Peirsons (sp) website catinfo.org.
I have heard of an association between dilated cardiomyopathy in dogs fed a grain free diet, but not cats. Doesn’t mean it’s not true, just that I haven’t heard of it.
 

silent meowlook

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Nov 10, 2014
Messages
850
Purraise
1,342
Ok, so now I have heard of it. It makes sense to me that you shouldn’t feed a cat things they would not naturally eat. I have never seen a cat chose to eat a potato so it shouldn’t be fed to them. You can also supplement their diet.
 

Furballsmom

Forum Helper and Cat Devotee
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jan 9, 2018
Messages
31,664
Purraise
42,699
Location
Colorado USA
Hi - my personal opinion is that it was rather "out of the blue" at my vet clinic during my last visit where all of a sudden, along with "you should feed Greenies" (!??), I was hearing about grain free food being bad. I was about to argue the point and say I have a cat, not a dog but left it alone since the vet tech obviously knew that by that stage of the visit.

Which is to say I don't agree that grain free, of itself, is an issue for cats (I'm not a vet), even though you're having vet after vet telling you this which is definitely concerning. However, I figure as long as I'm getting my big furry feline boy in to regular vet visits and am feeding him a number of different brands of both wet and dry, grain free and otherwise since my focus is lower sodium and phosphorus, and attempting to avoid synthetic vitamin K as much as possible, I'm doing as much as I can for my cat.

Bottom line for you might be to do a rotational menu, possibly?
 
Last edited:

Kieka

Snowshoe Servant
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Sep 6, 2016
Messages
10,803
Purraise
17,112
Location
Southern California
I take my cat to a cat specialist vet who only sees cats. The only thing she's ever told me about grain free food is to look for low carbs because the grain free is a gimmick cats need low carbs. The whole grain free heart problem is a DOG issue and any link I've seen to cats tends to be more coincidental then cause. My understanding is taurine is the reason dogs are having issue but cat food is tested and supplemented for taurine so therefore not an issue. I think it's a case of vets who see maybe 1 cat a day seeing one thing in dogs and making a general statement to cats. I just took my cat to a 24 hour emergency vet, was persecuted medication, followed up with my cat vet who promptly complained that normal practices don't see enough cats and are undereducated in them before changing the meds. She said what I was given wouldn't hurt but there were more effective options for cats. I think it's the same type of thing with the grain free food of its not necessarily bad advice to be cautious with food options but the reason is wrong.
 

fionasmom

Moderator
Staff Member
Moderator
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
7,804
Purraise
10,796
Location
Los Angeles
Jamie has HCM, not DCM, diagnosed at 2. He is now 5. I have been told not to feed him grain free by both his primary care vet and his cardiologist. To get right to the point, he is a difficult little fish eater and I have adopted the rotational approach to his food that Furballsmom Furballsmom is suggesting. We have made it going on 4 years doing this and his heart condition has remained stable. He was even taken off of his meds which the PC vet had originally put him on.
 

LTS3

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
18,727
Purraise
18,978
Location
USA
The grain free issue affects dogs, not cats. TCS has several threads discussing this topic:

Grain-free not so good?

You can use this chart to find canned foods that don't have grains, legumes, etc: Check This Out.... Chart For Cat Food Ingredients

A raw diet doesn't have to be made from scratch. There are commercially available brands and even subscription services. If freeze space is limited, there are shelf stable freeze dried and air dried raw foods available.
 

silent meowlook

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Nov 10, 2014
Messages
850
Purraise
1,342
I take my cat to a cat specialist vet who only sees cats. The only thing she's ever told me about grain free food is to look for low carbs because the grain free is a gimmick cats need low carbs. The whole grain free heart problem is a DOG issue and any link I've seen to cats tends to be more coincidental then cause. My understanding is taurine is the reason dogs are having issue but cat food is tested and supplemented for taurine so therefore not an issue. I think it's a case of vets who see maybe 1 cat a day seeing one thing in dogs and making a general statement to cats. I just took my cat to a 24 hour emergency vet, was persecuted medication, followed up with my cat vet who promptly complained that normal practices don't see enough cats and are undereducated in them before changing the meds. She said what I was given wouldn't hurt but there were more effective options for cats. I think it's the same type of thing with the grain free food of its not necessarily bad advice to be cautious with food options but the reason is wrong.
You are right about the average dog and cat vet sees mostly dogs and does not know enough about cats. I worked for a cat only vet for 6 years and now work for mixed practice emergency vet. There is definitely a change. I worked mixed practices before the cat vet as well. I’ve spent decades working in vet hospitals and there is a serious lack of knowledge and concern for cats. There is a trend now in vet medicine to cater to cats but still not much has changed from what I can see.
Cats are obviously not small dogs, and share no dog behavior yet are still to this day expected to act and respond like dogs and when they don’t, get a caution sticker.

OK, sorry rant over.

Bottom line is, I urge you to get your cat to a feline only hospital with a feline specialist to guide you to the best care for your cat. Also establish with that vet what your options are in regards to an after hours emergency.
 

Kflowers

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Messages
5,004
Purraise
6,338
This may seem unconnected but I think before I took unexpected advice about what food to feed from my vet I would be certain who owns the practice. Did the vet (or the group) recently sell the practice to a corporation that doesn't make grain free food? It could make a difference in what is suggested. Remember how so many vets pushed Hill's Science Diet??? This could well be the same sort of thing.
 

lisahe

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Mar 23, 2014
Messages
5,266
Purraise
3,851
Location
Maine
A raw diet doesn't have to be made from scratch. There are commercially available brands and even subscription services. If freeze space is limited, there are shelf stable freeze dried and air dried raw foods available.
I just want to follow up on what LTS3 says about raw food. We feed our cats several brands of commercial raw food because I don't want to make raw food from scratch. There are lots of great choices these days so please just ask, B Baz84 , if you need ideas!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12

Baz84

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Nov 18, 2020
Messages
47
Purraise
20
Are you able to provide me with company names? unfortunately I live in a small apartment with small appliances - no storage room available.
 

LTS3

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Aug 29, 2014
Messages
18,727
Purraise
18,978
Location
USA
Are you able to provide me with company names? unfortunately I live in a small apartment with small appliances - no storage room available.

Freeze dried raw foods? Here are some:

Frozen Raw & Freeze Dried Cat Food | Vital Essentials (toppers are included in the freeze dried list but those are just that, toppers to be sprinkled over food to make it more yummy. You want the dinner patties or mini nibs for a complete diet)

Air dried raw food is also shelf stable:


Dehydrated raw is also an option but they can be very high carb and veggie-heavy which aren't good for cats. It's basically a box of powder and you rehydrate a serving in water before feeding the cat.

Freeze dried raw should also be rehydated for a couple of minutes before serving otherwise the cat may get dehydrated as the food soaks up liquid inside the digestive tract which in turns draws water from elsewhere in the body.

Air dried raw can be fed as is. It's like kibble.

Chewy.com has many of these brands available. A local independent pet store may also have these brands.
 
Top