Mo's Food Trials

Worom

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Hi all,

I've seen other posts where other cat parents post their food trial journey with their Kitties and I would like to do the same. If you've read previous post New Cat Parent with questions then you can skip to the bottom.

Some background, I adopted Mo from a family friend who adopted a dog that was supposed to be cat friendly but once out of the shelter environment proved to not be the case, I was more than willing to adopt Mo into my family. Since I've adopted her in March some gastrointestinal and ear issues became apparent fairly quickly. She was somewhat constipated on her original dry food Earthborn Holistic Primitive feline where she was passing stool but it was hard and almost pellet like she was also regurgitating the food at least once a week. I switched her to Hill's Science Diet sensitive stomach and skin chicken recipe, this seemed to help with the regurgitation issues but her constipation appeared to get worse which warranted a vet visit. Mo was given an enema and a RX for Royal Canin Gastrointestinal fiber response food which appeared to resolve the constipation issues, however the regurgitation issues worsened and was mentioned to the Vet which she wasn't overly concerned about as she wasn't bringing up bile.

For a while I noticed that she had been scratching at her ears and shaking her head quite a bit so I made a vet appointment for her where cytology showed a yeast infection in her ears, she was given tresaderm which cleared up the yeast infection.

About a month later, for a still undetermined reason she had an episode where she vomited 6x times within the span of a few hours, first bringing up all her food then vomiting bile. She was brought to the vet that day and was given cerenia and pepcid injections which stopped the vomiting and she went back to normal.

She then had her yearly vet visit in October and was given the combo vaccination, she had an adverse reaction to the combination shot where she was extremely lethargic and not feeling well. In the future I will be requesting the non combo vaccination due to the reaction.

In November I noticed she was really starting to scratch at her ears again and shake her head quite a bit and this prompted another vet visit where a bacterial ear infection was confirmed through cytology, Mo was then given another round of tresaderm to clear up the infection. The vet at this point began to suspect some type of allergy or sensitivity since this was the 2nd ear infection in less than 6 months.

After the tresderm treatment was completed she was fine for about a week and the ear scratching and head shaking started up again, hoping to reduce stress on Mo I called a mobile vet out, they took a look at her ears and ran another cytology test and showed there was a bacterial ear infection. The mobile vet gave Mo a Convienia injection(Never doing this again, risks and what the injection was were not explained to me).

Mo seemed pretty normal until about a week and a half ago where she had another major round of vomiting including dry heaving, as this was on a Saturday I took her to the emergency vet where they ran blood work and took X-rays as well as administering an enema to get a better x-ray image, all test results were normal. They did keep her overnight to make sure she was fully stable and gave her IV fluids to make sure she was hydrated.

When I brought her home on Sunday she didn't want to eat her food, nor was she drinking. She was going to the litter box normally though other than no bowl movements from lack of eating and being cleared out from the enema. I then followed up with her normal vet on Monday who gave her sub-dermal fluids and mirtazapine to boost her appetite which did get her eating again somewhat reluctantly, we also scheduled an ultrasound for Tuesday to make sure we weren't missing anything.

On Tuesday morning she regurgitated her RX dry food again and refused to even get near it anymore, I then bring her in for her ultrasound which is normal I also ask for a different brand of the RX food to see if that helps get her eating. When I bring her home she somewhat nibbles throughout the day other RX food but isn't too thrilled about it. She is more than willing to eat the RX treats and other treats I have around the house. So a food aversion is suspected, the vet on Monday had mentioned this possibility as well.

On Wednesday she is refusing to eat any of the RX foods now, but when offered a treat or even a bit of canned food that she normally doesn't really touch she was willing to eat or try them. I call the vet and leave a message for a vet tech to call me back, which I never receive a call back on. The emergency vet called me back in the evening though to follow up and directed me to do whatever was needed to get her eating again. I head over to petco and grab four different brands of dry food for her to try.

I start out with the Acana meadowlands formulation and she ate a good bit of it Wednesday, but on Thursday she decided she didn't like it, she had managed to get into the pantry and probably smelled one of the other foods and like the smell better. So I then open the Purina Pro Plan Sensative skin and stomach lamb formulation and she happily eats that and continues to do so.

Fast forward to Today 12/17 she is now having normal bowel movements after having diarrhea from the sudden food switch and is now acting more like herself and is willing to play and chase stuff again, we move on to the next steps to hopefully much better health.

I determined that she needs to eat wet food, as trying to chase down a food sensitivity using dry food is near impossible just from reading most ingredient lists, not to mention the lack of water in the food is a big issue as well.

So the current plan is to stop free feeding and move to meals, in-between meals she will be offered wet food if she is hovering around where her food normally would be in the hopes that she will be hungry enough to eat it.

Here is where we are today so far.

8am breakfast is offered, Mo eats a bit of it like she normally would free feeding. Dish is emptied and removed from the floor after 20 minutes
Around 8:45 am she is hovering around her food dish, a small amount of wet food is offered roughly 1/8 of a 3oz weurva stew packet. She licks it a bit and walks away, a small sprinkle of Parmesan cheese is then added. She eats pretty much the entire amount, will re-offer when she is hungry to see if she will eat it without any cheese.

9:30am she is back by the food dish area again, Wellness pate chicken recipe is offered, about 1/8 of a 3oz can warmed to mouse body temperature. She gives it a good couple of sniffs but walks away. Another small sprinkling of Parmesan cheese is added, too small for my 1g accuracy scale to measure. She then decides to eat about half the food.

Wet food will be continued to be offered in-between the meals, given her weakness for cheese I might look for some wet foods that have a cheese flavor in them, right now the point is to get her eating wet food. The type/brand isn't too important until after that step has been reached.

If it takes months to get on board so be it. Hopefully it doesn't take that long.
 

Azazel

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I think you made the right choice by switching to wet food. I wonder though if the sudden change to all these different brands of food plus the Parmesan cheese might be a bit too much for her tummy all at once. I guess you have no other stable food to transition her from since she didn’t do well on any of the dry foods. Hmm, maybe you can try putting a tiny bit of plain low fat yogurt to entice her instead of the cheese. It will give her some probiotics that will help her tummy adjust to the new food.
 

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Hi there Worom Worom ! So sorry you are having to go through this. I know first hand how not fun this is. As you have seen with the food trial diary threads - you are not alone at all! A diary-like this helps you to go back and remember things too. (Plus can help others that may have to endure this at some point.)

I don't know how much you know, or don't, so if I say something that seems - what's the word - like I'm treating you like a child, please forgive me as I don't know the level of your knowledge yet. XO

I LOVE that you are doing wet food for Mo. That's going to be far easier - and IMHO - superior in many ways. Especially if you have to add supplements to help. Dividing meals like that will be easier on her as well and no longer free feeding will help with any weight management issues that can creep up.

Azazel Azazel I love the yogurt idea!

If you need help with anything, please feel free to ask. I'm happy to share what I know with you from my own Journey.

XOXOXOXOX
 
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Worom

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I think you made the right choice by switching to wet food. I wonder though if the sudden change to all these different brands of food plus the Parmesan cheese might be a bit too much for her tummy all at once. I guess you have no other stable food to transition her from since she didn’t do well on any of the dry foods. Hmm, maybe you can try putting a tiny bit of plain low fat yogurt to entice her instead of the cheese. It will give her some probiotics that will help her tummy adjust to the new food.
I'm concerned about this as well, I know switching things around a lot can upset the system. I'll have to try the yogurt idea. I do have some fortiflora I could try and mix in instead as well. I did get her fairly stable on the Purina dry food, I didn't introduce anything new until I was sure her diarrhea had resolved. I don't expect her to transition to wet food quickly either, I'm hoping she can have a nice super slow transition that will give her system time to adjust. Any and all suggestions are appreciated.
 
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Worom

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Hi there Worom Worom ! So sorry you are having to go through this. I know first hand how not fun this is. As you have seen with the food trial diary threads - you are not alone at all! A diary-like this helps you to go back and remember things too. (Plus can help others that may have to endure this at some point.)

I don't know how much you know, or don't, so if I say something that seems - what's the word - like I'm treating you like a child, please forgive me as I don't know the level of your knowledge yet. XO

I LOVE that you are doing wet food for Mo. That's going to be far easier - and IMHO - superior in many ways. Especially if you have to add supplements to help. Dividing meals like that will be easier on her as well and no longer free feeding will help with any weight management issues that can creep up.

Azazel Azazel I love the yogurt idea!

If you need help with anything, please feel free to ask. I'm happy to share what I know with you from my own Journey.

XOXOXOXOX
No worries, my knowledge level is fairly low with kitties I prefer to be told something as if I'm a child rather than missing or not understanding something., as Mo is my first cat. I think I've read over the catinfo.org site a couple times now lol.
 

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I'm concerned about this as well, I know switching things around a lot can upset the system. I'll have to try the yogurt idea. I do have some fortiflora I could try and mix in instead as well. I did get her fairly stable on the Purina dry food, I didn't introduce anything new until I was sure her diarrhea had resolved. I don't expect her to transition to wet food quickly either, I'm hoping she can have a nice super slow transition that will give her system time to adjust. Any and all suggestions are appreciated.
If she’s okay on the Purina dry then maybe give her that for the rest of today. I think she’s had enough changes for one day. Then tomorrow just pick one of the wet foods that she likes the most and slowly start transitioning to that one. Once she’s used to that, start introducing another one slowly.

Either the fortiflora or the yogurt would be a better topper than cheese imo. I think the cheese might exacerbate her issues. At least the fortiflora and yogurt both have some probiotic in them. Actually, getting her on a good daily probiotic would be a good idea in general too. Fortiflora is not the best one, but if you try searching for previous probiotic threads here there have been lots of suggestions.
 
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Worom

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If she’s okay on the Purina dry then maybe give her that for the rest of today. I think she’s had enough changes for one day. Then tomorrow just pick one of the wet foods that she likes the most and slowly start transitioning to that one. Once she’s used to that, start introducing another one slowly.

Either the fortiflora or the yogurt would be a better topper than cheese imo. I think the cheese might exacerbate her issues. At least the fortiflora and yogurt both have some probiotic in them. Actually, getting her on a good daily probiotic would be a good idea in general too. Fortiflora is not the best one, but if you try searching for previous probiotic threads here there have been lots of suggestions.
Sounds good, I will give her the Purina for the rest of today as timed feedings. Of the two I tried today she seemed to like the Weurva stew the best. Ill pick up some plain low-fat yogurt from the store today in case I need it to entice her tomorrow
 

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Is the Weruva stew fish based? Careful with fish based foods. They are fine to give occasionally but I wouldn’t feed them on a regular basis. They can be high in metals and some cats get addicted to fish (which might explain why she liked it so much). Weruva also has chicken based canned foods. The Cats in the kitchen chicken frick a zee and fowl ball (turkey and chicken) are good ones. I think the cans are also more economical than the packets.
 

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Sorry just had another thought... since you think she might have a food sensitivity, is there any poultry in the Purina dry that she does well on? What is the main protein?
 
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Worom

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Is the Weruva stew fish based? Careful with fish based foods. They are fine to give occasionally but I wouldn’t feed them on a regular basis. They can be high in metals and some cats get addicted to fish (which might explain why she liked it so much). Weruva also has chicken based canned foods. The Cats in the kitchen chicken frick a zee and fowl ball (turkey and chicken) are good ones. I think the cans are also more economical than the packets.
I just double checked the packet, Its Stir the Pot Lamb, Chicken and Salmon Dinner. I'll toss that one out since it has the fish. I'll have to pick up the two versions you mentioned to see if she likes those just as much when I offer a little bit tomorrow.

The primary protein in the Purina is Lamb, but it also contains chicken meal, fish meal, and soy meal, which looking at that makes me wonder how its "sensitive stomach and skin" she is still itchy, but it also has corn and wheat in it too. Like all the other dry foods she has been on.
 

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No worries, my knowledge level is fairly low with kitties I prefer to be told something as if I'm a child rather than missing or not understanding something., as Mo is my first cat. I think I've read over the catinfo.org site a couple times now lol.
I'm the same way. So phew :cool:

Remember that eventually, once you've changed over to Mo liking / getting used to the wet food - there is stage two.

Stage two (which I would do while adapting her to wet food maybe) is going to be finding a food that she'll eat that contains a protein that wasn't part of her regular life. One that she's not been previously exposed to.

When you have that complete - she'll need to stay on that food for a min of 12 weeks to see if that kicks the allergy in the butt. Even her treats will have to be of that same protein.

Now, saying that the horrible thing is, like people, cats can be allergic to anything. The reason to start with the protien change is that it is the most likely source of the issue.
 

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I just double checked the packet, Its Stir the Pot Lamb, Chicken and Salmon Dinner. I'll toss that one out since it has the fish. I'll have to pick up the two versions you mentioned to see if she likes those just as much when I offer a little bit tomorrow.

The primary protein in the Purina is Lamb, but it also contains chicken meal, fish meal, and soy meal, which looking at that makes me wonder how its "sensitive stomach and skin" she is still itchy, but it also has corn and wheat in it too. Like all the other dry foods she has been on.
Okay, since the Purina has chicken in it then I don't think it's a poultry allergy. What you could do is look for limited ingredient wet foods to try and see which protein she does best on. If you're willing to spend a bit more, you can check out a local independent pet shop. They tend to carry higher quality foods and some brands like Feline Natural have limited ingredient lamb varieties.
 
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Worom

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Okay, since the Purina has chicken in it then I don't think it's a poultry allergy. What you could do is look for limited ingredient wet foods to try and see which protein she does best on. If you're willing to spend a bit more, you can check out a local independent pet shop. They tend to carry higher quality foods and some brands like Feline Natural have limited ingredient lamb varieties.
I did find a independent pet shop, that I picked up some of the weurva chicken frick a zee, they also carried Ziwipeak in a lamb formulation, I picked up a can of that as well, the only ingredient in there that gave me a bit of pause was the new Zealand green mussel but its pretty far down on the ingredient list.
 

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I did find a independent pet shop, that I picked up some of the weurva chicken frick a zee, they also carried Ziwipeak in a lamb formulation, I picked up a can of that as well, the only ingredient in there that gave me a bit of pause was the new Zealand green mussel but its pretty far down on the ingredient list.
The green mussel shouldn’t cause any harm. The peas in the Ziwipeak might bug your kitty’s stomach, so just take it slow with the Ziwipeak. I like Feline Natural better for New Zealand lamb cause it doesn’t have any peas in it.
 

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Hello! Welcome to the ranks of food trailers, haha. I agree that switching over to wet food will make this a ton easier. The biggest key here is patience. Switching over to wet food, timed meals and new proteins is a lot, and if she's anything like my cat Frida, it will take time for Mo to acclimate.
It sounds like you have a good plan, and since she is eating the lamb dry, making her wet food choices lamb will hopefully be easier.
In addition to ZiwiPeak, Hound & Gatos, Meat Mates, and Feline Natural have a single protein lamb variety.
Hang in there, and feel free to reach out with any questions!
 
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Worom

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The green mussel shouldn’t cause any harm. The peas in the Ziwipeak might bug your kitty’s stomach, so just take it slow with the Ziwipeak. I like Feline Natural better for New Zealand lamb cause it doesn’t have any peas in it.
Will do, I looked for the Feline Natural but this store was pretty small and didn't carry it. I might have to check another store to see if they carry it.
 
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Worom

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Hello! Welcome to the ranks of food trailers, haha. I agree that switching over to wet food will make this a ton easier. The biggest key here is patience. Switching over to wet food, timed meals and new proteins is a lot, and if she's anything like my cat Frida, it will take time for Mo to acclimate.
It sounds like you have a good plan, and since she is eating the lamb dry, making her wet food choices lamb will hopefully be easier.
In addition to ZiwiPeak, Hound & Gatos, Meat Mates, and Feline Natural have a single protein lamb variety.
Hang in there, and feel free to reach out with any questions!
Much appreciated, definitely trying to take it slow, she is meowing unhappily at the lack of free feeding at the moment.
 

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Will do, I looked for the Feline Natural but this store was pretty small and didn't carry it. I might have to check another store to see if they carry it.
Sometimes stores will order in specific brands or proteins for you. If your store carries ziwipeak it’s possible that they have access to a supplier with feline natural too since they’re both from New Zealand.
 
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Worom

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Time for day two

Yesterday Mo was offered food at 8am, 6pm and. 10pm she nibbled at the dry food for all three meals. Eating about 3g at 8am another 3g at 6pm the 10pm I left down 28g and left the bowl overnight as I wasn't sure how much she free fed before I started at 8am yesterday and wanted to make sure she got enough calories.

Today's game plan is to offer 12g of dry at 8am, another 12g at 6pm and another 12g at 10pm. A small amount of Weurva chicken frick a zee wet food will be offered as well. Hopefully this will warm her up to the wet food and help her associate it as food.

My calorie and food calculation is based on the recommendation on catinfo.org of 15cal/lb at ideal weight. For Mo this is around 9lbs x 15 = 145cal her food is 529cal/cup with 1 cup being 124g roughly 4.2 cal per gram giving me 34g per day if she only eats the dry food. With a 2g buffer gives me 36g divided into 3 12g meals
 

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catinfo is one site one of my awesome vets recommended I read for Charlie. The only thing he will eat atm is on Dr. Pierson's "list of shame" for food on her site - so that's problematic. She wasn't joking about the company not being forthcoming about food breakdowns. I've been trying to get some details on it myself.

The site is a very educational read.

Let us know how today goes. :-)
 
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