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I Think My Cat Suffered On High Quality Foods

Discussion in 'Cat Nutrition' started by mizzely, Jun 14, 2018.

  1. mizzely

    mizzely Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    A few years ago, my cat Jasmine was eating Canidae dry food and wet foods. She was 14 at the time.

    She started to lose weight, throwing up near daily, and licking all her fur off from her stomach. Bloodwork came back fine, no causes for concern there including thyroid. The vet prescribed Prednisolone which had no effect. He suggested food allergy, so we removed chicken from the diet and switched to all chicken free and grain free wet food to help the vomit.

    The vomiting seemed to improve a little, but she was still licking, and not gaining weight. Her poops started to stink.

    Over the next 3 years, her licking would seemingly improve and then overnight she'd be bald again with no apparent cause. We tried raw food. We tried freeze dried. We tried limited ingredient. We removed anything with hooves (beef, venison). We removed turkey, peas, fish. We even went to just straight canned quail and rabbit with no additivies and added in necessary vitamins manually. Her poops would clear out the whole house they were so bad. She would only eat a little at each meal so I tried adding KMR to her food which gave her diarrhea. Tried Nutrical, adding bone broth, gelatin... anything I could think of to increase her calorie intake. Before all this, she was overweight from over eating. Now she was wasting away, sleeping all the time. I did 4 small (1.5oz) meals a day to try and encourage her to eat. Usually she only only showed up to 2 meals, and only ate half of them.

    I ran out of money to feed my cats. I have two and feeding costs were sometimes $200 a month, more than I spent on human food . My credit cards are maxed.

    I finally had the thought, "if she's going to lick her fur off regardless of what food I give her, why am I doing this?"

    I had a week worth of cat food left and was panicking about what I was going to do. I went and bought 2 cans of Friskies in desperation to try with her. I was TERRIFIED that I was going to make it all worse.

    I opened that can, took a quarter of it out for each cat, and put it on their raised feeding platform. They gobbled it up like I've been starving them. Jasmine ate the whole bowl and went back to bed. A few hours later, I gave them their old food "favorites" again... snubbed their noses and walked away. I left it for a half hour and they barely ate, but I didn't want to do to much at once with the "bad" food.

    The only meal they ate all of that day was the Friskies.

    Next day, I offered the rest of the can, and all was eaten again.

    No vomiting. No extra licking. Eating.

    I bought a few more cans of Friskies and after a few days of just one Friskies meal a day, I went to 2 a day. Eventually 3. And now for the past few weeks, we're at all Friskies for all meals. Still no extra licking. No vomiting. Her poops are odorless compared to what they were! And the best part? She's gaining weight for the first time in 3 years. She's got more energy (for a 17 year old cat!)

    I don't know why she licks still. Current speculation is psychogenic alopecia. It's the only thing that currently fits.

    What I do know is that for the first time in 3 years I'm not mentally preparing myself for waking up one morning and seeing she's passed away.

    What I do know is, after all of the Nature's Variety, ZiwiPeak, Koha, Redbarn, Evangers, Wysong, and raw food...

    I think Friskies saved her.
     
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  2. Daisy6

    Daisy6 A cat's best friend Super Cat

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    The Friskies saved her because she ate all of it Cats need to eat. If the licking issue, as you stated, has nothing to do with food,. you can't blame high-quality food for it getting worse. Too many food changes were made, which caused vomiting by itself. Jasmine was an exceptional cat.
     
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  3. mizzely

    mizzely Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    She was vomiting and losing weight before the food changes. And all food changes were done slowly over the course of 3 years.
     

  4. Willowy

    Willowy TCS Member Top Cat

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    Glad you found what worked for your kitty! It can drive us crazy finding what works for a cat with issues.
     
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  5. Daisy6

    Daisy6 A cat's best friend Super Cat

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    Did the vet try any drugs or natural medicines after realizing food did not help her? I know you said she had some tests done that showed nothing abnormal, but a drug regimen could have been what she needed to stop vomiting and licking herself bald. Not saying it is better to take synthetic medications than eat all natural foods, but it could have been something that is not related to food.
     
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  6. mschauer

    mschauer TCS Member Top Cat

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    So glad you found a solution! It must be a great relief to you.

    It might be interesting to compare the ingredients of the Canidae and Friskies. Maybe you can spot the ingredient in Canidae that your kitty is sensitive to. The perceived quality of the food isn't what matters when it comes to sensitivities. It's all about the ingredients. Your experience could well have gone the other way around with your kitty having a problem with a "cheap" food that went away when you switched to a "quality" food if the cheap contained an ingredient your cat is sensitive too that the quality food doesn't contain.
     
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  7. mschauer

    mschauer TCS Member Top Cat

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    You say "no extra licking" and then that she still licks. What exactly are you saying? She stills licks more than she should but not as much as before?
     

  8. mizzely

    mizzely Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Besides Prednisolone and injectable steroids, we tried allergy medications, including Zyrtec and Chlorpheneramine. We also tried CBD oil both as a lotion and as a consumed supplement. We tried a couple of different anti flea meds even though there was no sign of fleas or other bugs in the house.

    We also tried changing the environment in case it was stress related and gave her lots of privacy and ways to get away from everyone in the house.

    Additionally we tried Feliway and a Thundershirt.

    I am sure I am forgetting stuff. It's been a long journey :(

    Yes, but even when putting her on foods with no "extras" she still had the symptoms. We tried her on the Evangers Game Meats that are just meat, liver and guar gum. We also tried her on ZiwiPeak that does not have guar gum.

    Yes, she still has bald patches of fur from over grooming. No red skin, just the fur. She licks no more or no less than she did on any of the other foods. She just no longer has the other symptoms (vomiting, terrible poop) and is gaining weight.

    If my options are between licking, vomiting, and losing weight, or licking and gaining weight, I'll gladly take the latter.
     

  9. Daisy6

    Daisy6 A cat's best friend Super Cat

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    If prednisolone relieved the licking, there could have been an environmental allergen in the house. It is not good long-term though because of its severe side effects. I'm a fan of short-term prednisolone in low doses before allergens can be identified.
     
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  10. Azazel

    Azazel TCS Member Super Cat

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    I'm glad you found what works for your cat. I also would be hesitant to refer to any food as "high quality" just because it is labelled as "premium" or is expensive. Honestly, they all have their issues.
     

  11. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Hi - wow, what a time you've had!!

    :redheartpump:

    Let me post this, just in case it has something in it that might help;
    No Money For Vet Care? How To Find Help And Save Your Cat's Life

    Also, in case you-all didn't try this, I have read that amitriptyline can help with OCD behaviors such as overgrooming.

    In addition, let me list some of the other calming products that are available - there are lots of styles including treats, sprays, collars and wipes.
    Some cats such as my Big Guy are completely unaffected by Feliway, but there are other products with different ingredients such as L-Tryptophan and casein.

    There is Zylkene, Calming Care, Calm-o-mile, Sentry, Natures Miracle calming spray, Vetri-Science's Composure is another item to look at, Pet Remedy (it has valerian) is yet another, as is Essential Pet Pet-ease, Only Natural Pet (brand and website) has a calming product, Pet Naturals also has one I believe.
    Lambert Vet Supply is a website to look at, and of course amazon and chewy, also there's Petwishpros, drsfostersmith, animaleo. Australia's Petbarn has Vitarapid treats.

    There are a couple of recent discussions about calming items, here's the link to one thread. Post #6 in this has a link to the second discussion.
    Calming Treats?
     
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  12. KarenKat

    KarenKat Kitty on the half shell, tortie power! Top Cat

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    I think this is an excellent thread when people talk about cat food. I've heard so many people here say the best cat food is one the cat will eat. I am so glad you found something within budget that is also within cat ;) I think each cat is different when it comes to ingredient quality, and "fancier" or "premium" foods are less impactful. We fed corn-based kibble to two cats and one blimped out to 17.5 lbs and the other maintained his perfect physique. I'm sure it's similar with canned food as well, some may be more sensitive to the ingredients.

    Is your kitty indoor-only? Our girl Olive was an outdoor kitty and consistently overgroomed as well. Her only hair loss was at the base of her tail, which our vet mentioned was consistent with a flea allergy. She said that even though she didn't have fleas, one bite could be enough to set her off and overgroom. She was also a bit stressed, which didn't help. Not that she is indoor-only and her stress has come down, he grooming is of a more normal frequency. Just thought I would mention in case there was anything consistent with your kitty.
     
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  13. duckpond

    duckpond TCS Member Top Cat

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    So glad you found the food that works for your cats! It can be a real struggle. what works for one will not work for the next. My son went through much the same thing with an ibd cat of his. They finally found the ONE food that works :) Good feeling when that happens! :clap2:
     
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  14. mizzely

    mizzely Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Thank you, I will try some of those :) I have been hesitant to do a lot of those because I was told to remove so many treats and to not do too much because the vet didn't want it to conflict with the foods. Now I feel like I have a little more leeway in trying some stuff.

    My kitty has been indoor only her entire life; I've had her since 9 weeks old. She has always been a meticulous groomer though, more so than any other cat I've had. About 9 months before all of this started, my mom's dog gave us all fleas. I think that may have been the trigger, to be perfectly honest. It was a hard battle and took about 6 months to get rid of them completely. We've been really fortunate to have had fleas maybe one other time in her life when she was much younger (like 4 years old) so perhaps age was a factor this time.

    The prednisolone did not seem to help her licking at all unfortunately. :( We also have birds in the house (have had them for 7 years now) so I use very little chemicals or anything like that, and we have actually moved houses in the last year so I am honestly not sure what environmental causes it would have been. I also have a young child but she started this before he was born.
     
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  15. KarenKat

    KarenKat Kitty on the half shell, tortie power! Top Cat

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    Ugh, "superfleas." We had that in our last apartment, and we were also battling for months. I think other pets in the complex kept reinfesting us. It's possible that it was a trigger, our vet mentioned sometimes one bite or infestation can be enough to set off a cat to groom more than normal. Obviously she's not exposed anymore and it's awful you both could still be dealing with the consequences (or some entirely unrelated issue). Good luck, I know it's a marathon!
     
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  16. MissMolly08

    MissMolly08 TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Glad you found something that works!
    My cat eats a diet of 98% canned Friskies and does SO good on it! Her coat is amazing, she has a lot of energy (she's 10!) and she has lost weight (she was overweight!). Whatever works for your cat and your budget!
     
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  17. Ginger Tabby

    Ginger Tabby TCS Member Young Cat

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    I'm also glad that you found food that works for your kitty. Mine was just the opposite. We had to feed him higher quality wet food that wasn't chicken or fish and had no guar gum, carrageenan or other type of gum in the ingredients. He's undergoing treatment for small cell lymphoma, and Nature's Variety LID rabbit is really working for him. We switched him at the time of diagnosis. No vomiting of food, and perfect stools without a strong odor. No two experiences are alike.
     

  18. Daisy6

    Daisy6 A cat's best friend Super Cat

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    At least one vet told me indoor cats can get fleas after we carry them in the house. She explained they latch on our clothes, shoes, etc. So any cat can be exposed but obviously it is much worse for outdoor cats. Flea allergies are common in cat BTW.
     
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  19. KarenKat

    KarenKat Kitty on the half shell, tortie power! Top Cat

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    @Ginger Tabby , I have a TMI question for you: Are your kitty's stools very dark in color on the NV LID? We started feeding the kibble and I would say we are at 70% dark chocolate color.
     
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  20. mizzely

    mizzely Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    I definitely don't mean that premium foods are bad, not at all. I just meant that for my cat, it was in ways worse for her than a grocery store food is.

    Jasmine's were much much darker on the NV LID, specifically the dry rabbit. We only did about 1/8 cup at night to tide them over until morning and the poops were super super dark. (but also super super stinky!)
     
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