Help! Cat no longer eating raw.

tinn

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I've been feeding my cat, Cam, a mostly raw (Stella and Chewy's, rotating protein) diet for the last 5 years or so. I transitioned her when she was dealing with an awful IBS flareup and her phosphorus levels were dangerously low. (I wrote about that here Dealing with constipation on raw diet) At times I've supplemented the raw diet with a variety of high quality, grain free wet food (mostly to offset the high cost of commercial raw). She's always seemed to favor rabbit (of course--the most expensive protein!) but has eaten just about any protein I put in front of her. I was feeding her Instinct Pride wet food, and slowly noticed she seemed to have stomach issues whenever I fed her a seafood variety (a hair ball, vomit here and there, but nothing too concerning), so I stuck with rabbit, poultry and lamb. That was going fine until Pride discontinued their line :(. So I kept feeding her Stella and Chewy's raw, and tried to find another canned food to supplement it with. I was finishing a bag of Stella and Chewy's turkey flavor, and random cans of food I was trying (chicken, turkey, rabbit, etc.) and then I slowly realized that every time I fed her poultry she would vomit. It was kind of a clear, hairball. (I wrote about that here: https://thecatsite.com/threads/loss-of-appetite-but-in-good-spirits-food-suggestions.399041/ the vet thought it was pancreatitis triggered by a mix of her IBS and stress.) She stopped vomiting after being put on an anti-nausea medication for a week and a rabbit only (Stella and Chewy's rabbit and Instinct rabbit wet food cups). Then, she out of the blue, refused to eat her Stella and Chewy's raw! So now I'm left to feeding her only the Instinct rabbit cups, and it doesn't seem like she even likes them that much. Sometimes she turns her nose up at it until I sprinkle a few pieces of dry food on top (Instinct rabbit LID--literally the only food she seems excited to eat anymore, and she LOVES food). And other times she scratches around the bowl as if trying to bury it! Also, when she poops, they are HUGE, and smell up the whole house! It just seems like none of us are very happy about her new food situation. But, I would deal with the smell, and buying expensive food if it was good for her. My biggest concern is that it's irritating her guts and we're only a matter of time away from another flareup. Can anyone give me advice on what to feed my picky, sensitive tummied, friend?

* Preferably raw (I can't seem to get her to eat frozen raw though, only freeze dried)
* Grain/wheat/rice free
* Not poultry or seafood (I've tried beef, kangaroo and alligator too, to no avail!)
* Preferably chucks or shreds (not pate).

I'm at my wits end! Thank you in advance (from the both of us)! :caticon:
 

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Azazel

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Stella and Chewy has always concerned me. The amount of bone in their foods is way too high imo. Sorry your kitty is having a rough time. I would just stick to something simple and that doesn’t irritate her. Even if it means doing canned for a while until she’s back to her old self.
 

Furballsmom

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Hi! Would either Primal, Northwest Naturals or Wysong work for her?
 
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tinn

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Furballsmom Furballsmom

Thanks for the suggestions! I think my local store carries Primal. I love that it comes in rabbit, as well as venison and pork! Maybe she'll try one of those... I haven't heard of either of the other brands but it looks like they can both be ordered online. I will look into them further. Thanks again!
 

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Furballsmom Furballsmom

Thanks for the suggestions! I think my local store carries Primal. I love that it comes in rabbit, as well as venison and pork! Maybe she'll try one of those... I haven't heard of either of the other brands but it looks like they can both be ordered online. I will look into them further. Thanks again!
Our cats really love pork Primal! I've tried to phase it out a couple times (I'm not thrilled about the clay) but they get very unhappy if they don't have pork for breakfast. 🐖 So Primal it is. Another plus (since the subject of bone and constipation came up) is that Primal pork is a relatively low 6% bone. One of our cats gets mild constipation that makes her pretty unhappy so Primal's become important!

Northwest Naturals also makes rabbit (in addition to a fish food and several poultry foods) now. They do use bone in their foods (they quote a range of 6-10% for their various foods) and are pretty good about answering questions. I wish they were a little lower so I could feed them to both our cats.

One other thought: have you considered making homemade food? I make cooked food with two supplements -- EZ Complete and Alnutrin -- and though it does take time, it's probably less time than dealing with buying commercial foods! (I just buy meat at the grocery store...) EZ Complete does contain chicken liver (and I'm wondering if the mussels in it have been what's causing one of our cats to barf) but Alnutrin doesn't include liver so you could add any kind of liver. (Liver's required, unfortunately.) I know homemade isn't for everybody but our cats really love it and they do very well on it.

Good luck!
 

Tobermory

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I feed mostly homemade using EZ Complete (chicken, turkey and pork in rotation) with some Rawz, a high quality canned food. But I also give the odd meal of Northwest Naturals freeze dried raw (one of mine won’t eat frozen commercial raw) which they love. It’s a good company based in Portland.
 

lisahe

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I feed mostly homemade using EZ Complete (chicken, turkey and pork in rotation) with some Rawz, a high quality canned food. But I also give the odd meal of Northwest Naturals freeze dried raw (one of mine won’t eat frozen commercial raw) which they love. It’s a good company based in Portland.
Yes, that's right, Rawz makes a few canned foods that don't have either fish or fowl. And interesting that you mention that one of your cats won't eat frozen commercial raw: neither of ours like frozen raw foods other than Stella & Chewy's Selects. (And Rad Cat, but well, sigh.)
 

Tobermory

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neither of ours like frozen raw foods other than Stella & Chewy's Selects. (And Rad Cat, but well, sigh.)
Iris won’t eat S&C Selects and she wouldn’t eat Rad Cat. Annoying child. :headshake: The other two will gobble down anything!
 
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tinn

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CHIKITTIES CHIKITTIES Thanks so much for that article, I think it’s very possible she’s just getting bored. It’s just hard to find proteins she hasn’t already shown difficulty with—I’ll try some of the other raw brands and toppers! Very helpful!
 
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tinn

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I just wanted to say thank you to everyone who suggested new foods for Cam to try! I stopped at my local pet health food store, and they only carry Primal of all the brands suggested. The store unfortunately stopped carrying pork and venison (two proteins I don't think she's ever had and was excited to try!) but I grabbed a small thing of freeze dried rabbit and the beef/salmon flavor (hopefully it's more beef than salmon and it won't cause any issues). I started last night, with giving her one nugget of the rabbit mixed with the Instinct cups I've been feeding her and it took a minute for her to try it. So I sprinkled some kibble on top and she finally went for it. This morning she happily chowed down on it for breakfast, and tonight I gave her two nuggets for dinner (with a little bit of the rabbit cup to wean her off it) and she seems so happy! She hasn't turned her nose up at it or tried to "bury" it like she has been doing with her other food. I'll have to order the pork and venison online, but I'm now encouraged to do so! There's so many foods out there it's so hard to know where to start, but I am just so thankful for this group. I truly believe this community saved her life by helping me make an informed decision about her health and diet five years ago. Thank you all for helping me keep my little friend happy and healthy! ❤
 

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We're SO glad to hear this!!
Good for you, and let us know how things continue :)
 
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tinn

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Cam is unfortunately now having a bout of diarrhea... outside of her box... any ideas? Is it possible I transitioned her back to mostly raw too quickly??? Things were going so well! 😩
 

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Some cats do have digestive troubles with raw. There are vets who prescribe boiled unseasoned chicken with a little white rice for a meal or two, to try and help get the stomach settled.
 

Azazel

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I don’t think the issue is necessarily that the food you’re feeding is raw vs. cooked. Raw food is in general more digestible than cooked meat. Rather, what you’re feeding (primal) is full of many other ingredients in addition to raw meat. As I suggested before, I think you need to find something with simple ingredients for your cat. Even if it’s canned food at this point because many commercial raw foods can have just as many fillers as cooked foods.
 

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I don’t think the issue is necessarily that the food you’re feeding is raw vs. cooked. Raw food is in general more digestible than cooked meat. Rather, what you’re feeding (primal) is full of many other ingredients in addition to raw meat. As I suggested before, I think you need to find something with simple ingredients for your cat. Even if it’s canned food at this point because many commercial raw foods can have just as many fillers as cooked foods.
I agree about "the simpler the better." It's impossible here to sort out which food or ingredient might be causing the problem because there are Primal, kibble, and the rabbit cup food to consider. A quick check of the rabbit food shows that it has peas: some cats get diarrhea from various legumes so I would tend to implicate that first. (Though the kibble could have something similar that would have the same effect.)

Given the many limitations you have for your cat's diet, personally, I would try eliminating the kibble and NV rabbit food (which has a lot of ingredients I'm wary of) first. And probably the beef/salmon Primal, too, since you initially said you didn't want to feed fish. Our cats (who have quirky guts) do very well on Primal but I won't feed them the beef/salmon or anything with carrots -- low carb is what works for them and I draw the line at carrots. They get pork, which they absolutely love, and I am considering bringing back small amounts of turkey.

I guess that going back the last diet your cat ate without problems is an impossible starting point, right, since she won't eat all those foods?
 
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tinn

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I guess I thought I was giving her simple food because I was feeding her only LID canned rabbit and LID kibble. She completely stopped eating the canned rabbit though, and the only thing I could get her to eat was the cups.
Also, I had a change of heart on the primal beef/salmon as well, and returned it the day after I got it because it felt too risky to even try.
She’s never had diarrhea on the cups, and I’ve been feeding her those (almost exclusively) with a sprinkle of kibble here and there. The worst she had was foul smelling, well formed poops.
Making my own raw food for her feels overwhelming, and she’s so picky I’d hate to buy everything, and spend time doing it, for her to turn her nose up at it... maybe I just have to bite the bullet and do it for her.
I could try some boiled chicken in the meantime, but she cannot digest rice. The last time she was sick our vet gave us a few cans of rabbit and rice, and every time she’d throw up a pile of rice only. 😔
 

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I guess I thought I was giving her simple food because I was feeding her only LID canned rabbit and LID kibble. She completely stopped eating the canned rabbit though, and the only thing I could get her to eat was the cups.
Also, I had a change of heart on the primal beef/salmon as well, and returned it the day after I got it because it felt too risky to even try.
She’s never had diarrhea on the cups, and I’ve been feeding her those (almost exclusively) with a sprinkle of kibble here and there. The worst she had was foul smelling, well formed poops.
Making my own raw food for her feels overwhelming, and she’s so picky I’d hate to buy everything, and spend time doing it, for her to turn her nose up at it... maybe I just have to bite the bullet and do it for her.
I could try some boiled chicken in the meantime, but she cannot digest rice. The last time she was sick our vet gave us a few cans of rabbit and rice, and every time she’d throw up a pile of rice only. 😔
It's very frustrating to try to find a food that will work for a cat! A few things that came to mind when I read your post:

-LID doesn't necessarily mean recipes are simple. It generally seems to mean just one protein. Unfortunately, many pet food companies then just add in filler ingredients that are essentially the same as in their regular recipe foods. Our cats loved Merrick's LID duck and turkey foods but then Merrick added peas, which can bother some cats. (The cats noticed it before I read the label: they refused to eat it!)

-I agree about beef/salmon. We used to feed that in small amounts but I stopped that one some years ago. Neither beef nor fish is optimal for cats because of inflammation/histamines.

-Making food isn't as horrible a task as it might seem. A Azazel even posted a thread about enjoying it! I can't say that I enjoy it but, as I mentioned in an earlier post on this thread, EZ Complete and Alnutrin aren't that difficult to make. I use cooked meat, which takes more time and effort than raw meat. (I do think that the mussels in the EZ Complete had been bothering one of our cats, though, so would put a small asterisk on that supplement, though I think that's a fairly rare instance. She's been off EZ food for nearly two weeks with no vomiting and, as much as I love that supplement, I'm hoping I've finally figured out what was making her barf!)

-Both Alnutrin and EZ will send free samples so it might be worth requesting those. (Keep in mind that once you get your food-making operations down, the process will go faster!)

-I've never fed a cat rice and would be very hesitant to since it's so far from a natural diet for a cat -- it doesn't surprise me that your cat threw up the rice from that food. Some boiled meat would be a good choice, though! If chicken's an option (I thought, from your initial post that it wasn't?), Tiki's plain chicken shreds might work. That's very plain food; Petco sells it now. Our cats used to love it but then they changed the texture of the shreds. Cats! 😱🙀

Whatever option you choose, good luck!
 
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