Need advice! Limited ingredient suggestions

lisahe

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Oh no lisahe lisahe I hope Edwina is okay!! Did she have an endoscopy or biopsy? Neither one has a fun recovery. And I hope her diagnosis is something very manageable. I'd be curious to hear your vet's recommendations simple, homemade food. Good luck next week! Sending hugs to you and Edwina!
:touched::touched:
❤ Thank you for your concern, A Astragal14 , Edwina has been recovering pretty well! Sometimes it feels slow -- like the two or three days when she wasn't eating much at all -- but she's getting back to her sassy self. The short version (since I don't want to hijack this thread!) is that Edwina had an ultrasound, after which we chose exploratory surgery rather an endoscopy since we (and the vet) were pretty sure there'd be something to remove. Thank goodness that was our choice! For better or worse, there's no real diagnosis since nobody can positively id the source of the inflammation in her stomach. That despite biopsies of the stomach pieces, her spleen (which apparently hemorrhaged), and a couple of lymph nodes. The ultrasound and biopsy reports both mentioned the possibility of ingestion of a foreign body as well as parasites, so she'll be dewormed for good measure.

As for the diet -- and here maybe something will be helpful for the OP! -- I'll keep making cooked food with Alnutrin (which the cats like and which is about as simple as a supplement could be) and likely branch out into a recipe or two for variety since I'm also going to stop feeding raw food. The cats love raw food (in general) but the vet's not into raw food, Ireland doesn't do well with bone and lots of the foods have bone, and I'd aleady been feeling unsure about the mishmash of raw foods I'd been feeding: they include ingredients like pumpkin, psyllium husk, various probiotics, fish oil, and all sorts of other theoretically good things that may well have been fighting each other or adding up to too much (or maybe not enough?) of a good thing! It had gotten confusing for me to try to figure all that out, plus the cats were starting to get bored with some of those foods anyway. So I need to figure out a new menu. 😱🙀

Our vet already told me she's happy with balanced vet-written cooked food recipes. The cats and I are probably pickier than she is about that since there are so many things I refuse to feed! But I have a million question for her, with an eye on reducing inflammation. Things like how much of those theoretically good ingredients (particularly fish oil, probiotics, egg yolk, and maybe pumpkin or psyllium) to put in a day's menu. I also want to discuss a few herbal remedies, like slippery elm and marshmallow root, and Vet's Best anti-hairball tablets. And ask how to deal with Edwina's smaller stomach as well as her life-long propensity for generating stomach acid. I may need to keep getting up in the night to feed her, which is fine (I usually get up anyway!), but she also needs to lose weight!

One thing I'll mention right now, Jaylin A Jaylin A , since you mentioned testing for parasites, is that tests apparently don't always identify certain parasites, particularly if there aren't many living in the cat. Parasites weer mentioned in our ultrasound report because of all the inflammation in Edwina's stomach. I tend to think it was from a combination of factors but parasites are relevant because she loves eating bugs, including the camel crickets in our basement, which can apparently carry a nasty parasite! Who knew!? 🤷‍♀️ I'll also add that the recommendation about carbs in the Animal Biome article that A Astragal14 linked to is really key. Getting rid of carby stuff -- particularly legumes like peas, chickpeas, or lentils -- is (IMHO) good for any cat but especially for a cat who has diarrhea. Or vomiting. Although Edwina's symptoms have always been vomiting rather than diarrhea, as I mentioned in my earlier post, we've had to eliminate lots of thickeners and gums from her diet, ingredients from potato to agar-agar. It can take a long time to figure those things out but the fewer ingredients in the foods, the more likely we've been to figure out what's causing problems. Until, that is, we hit on major inflammation, which the ultrasound was the first to identify.

Sorry that's so much!
 

LadyLondonderry

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Thank you for posting this, A Astragal14 ! Edwina, whom I mentioned above, had surgery last week to remove a few things, including two very inflamed little pieces of her stomach. She also has some thickening of her intestine. Most likely a lot of things (though we'll never know what, exactly, put her over the edge) contributed to the inflammation over her nine years but now I clearly need to focus on a simpler diet with more homecooked food containing more fish oil and some probiotics... I'm looking forward to getting more ideas from our vet next week!
Seconding the good wishes for Edwina and the hugs for both of you!
 

Astragal14

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Getting rid of carby stuff -- particularly legumes like peas, chickpeas, or lentils -- is (IMHO) good for any cat but especially for a cat who has diarrhea. Or vomiting.
This is the hardest part of feline nutrition, it seems like everything has too many carbs!! And these three ingredients (peas, chickpeas and lentils) are the current trendy ingredients used by most high end, healthier foods. The only canned foods I've found that don't use these are Rawz and Dr. Elsey's (and Identity pet foods but they're so new, and they also have coconut oil and agar agar).


For better or worse, there's no real diagnosis since nobody can positively id the source of the inflammation in her stomach.
Oh wow, that's both good and bad. I'm so glad it's nothing like lymphoma, but at the same time... how well can you treat it when you don't know what's causing it?? I guess the silver lining is that managing inflammation is probably the single best thing we can do for our cats overall health (in my opinion).
 

lisahe

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This is the hardest part of feline nutrition, it seems like everything has too many carbs!! And these three ingredients (peas, chickpeas and lentils) are the current trendy ingredients used by most high end, healthier foods. The only canned foods I've found that don't use these are Rawz and Dr. Elsey's (and Identity pet foods but they're so new, and they also have coconut oil and agar agar).
I so agree! I'm glad our cats like Chewy's American Journey shredded chicken foods (though this one, the plain one, is out of stock!) because they're very basic recipes with no thickeners. Unfortunately, the cats don't like Tiki's shreds nearly as much... and those would give them lots more variety. They've never consistently liked Rawz (and the company is in my state!) but I'm going to try that out of them again... Agar-agar is a definite no for both cats. All these matters of taste and sensitivity were a huge part of what brought me to the variety of commercial raw foods in the first place. Unfortunately, canned foods haven't changed much (for our better!) in the last year or two. Things almost look worse since legumes and agar-agar seem to have become even more common.

Oh wow, that's both good and bad. I'm so glad it's nothing like lymphoma, but at the same time... how well can you treat it when you don't know what's causing it?? I guess the silver lining is that managing inflammation is probably the single best thing we can do for our cats overall health (in my opinion).
I so agree here, too! On all points. Although I'm glad I won't be beating myself up about something (Like: Why did I let her eat those crickets... Or: Why didn't I take X problem more seriously), it would be nice to know if there are mistakes I shouldn't repeat. The surgeon was particularly vocal in saying it's hard to infer much from all the reports. Our regular vet seems to think parasites are a prime culprit (particularly given raw food), though our other cat is fine, which makes me even less likely to blame raw food, where I've always been pretty careful. But Edwina's the one who eats insects and spiders; I'm pretty sure Ireland abstains. Lots of potential causes came up in the ultrasound and biopsy reports and I tend to think there was probably some weird confluence of events...

To get back to you, Jaylin A Jaylin A ! If you're able to get an ultrasound that might at least give you some hints as Edwina's did. Even if we'll never know the root causes, at least we knew immediately that there was something inflammatory going on in her stomach that needed to be taken care of. And we now know she has some thickening in her intestines. Ultrasounds can sometimes be affordable: I may have mentioned before that our vet brings in a specialist to do a bunch at a time and they're (relatively speaking anyway) affordable, under $300. Maybe your vet (or another in your area) does something similar?
 

mysterylover

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Jalin A.,

I hope this situation has improved for your kitty. One of my cats has had periods of constant diarrhea that last for months throughout his life - usually when a food he is eating has a label change or when there is great stress in his life (like when my daughter moved out to live on campus in college). The thing that worked for him to calm the inflammation was to feed him only boiled chicken for several days. If your cat likes pate, you could indeed use a blender or hand blender with some water to make the chicken into a smooth pate. I know this is not a long-term fix, but it helped me get him to a place where he was not having diarrhea. Then, if the diarrhea subsided, I would mix the chicken with a cat food with simple ingredients (I used Lotus Just Juicy Chicken because it had agar agar but no gums like guar or xantham that are known for having laxative effects in some cats, but every cat is different). Funny, he is now 12 years old, and he seems to need fiber to avoid getting constipated - but once again, adding a food with guar gum takes him from slightly constipated to having liquid stool as soon as any hard stool passes. I am considering just adding Metamucil to the Just Juicy, tiny amounts. Foods with peas seem to always cause mushy, smelly stool now - maybe companies are adding more due to the recession to sneak in protein or maybe he is just sensitive from eating food with peas. --- Now, his sister only wants foods with "natural flavor" that smell good, but I am struggling to find food that she will eat that does not mess up her bowels (she will get diarrhea from one, and then adding Fortiflora stops her up--sigh.) Again, I hope your kitty is doing better. Royal Canin has some dry foods that have a good mix of fibers (and even though my kitties have not eaten dry food in a decade, I am now considering trying one of their pet store versions as treats to try to add fiber for their issues now but worry the female will get hooked on kibble with her needing that smell). BUT WE LOVE THEM!:bluecat:
 

lisahe

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Funny, he is now 12 years old, and he seems to need fiber to avoid getting constipated - but once again, adding a food with guar gum takes him from slightly constipated to having liquid stool as soon as any hard stool passes.
Yes, the age/constipation combination is pretty much inevitable. Our vet started warning us about decreasing motility when our cats were only a few years old! They're now about nine and slowing down. The Vet's Best tablets for hairballs (not even in the full dose) really do seem to help our cat who's always been slightly constipated... and I find them a lot easier to deal with than even something like pumpkin, though I suppose part of that is that Ireland loves them so much they're like treats.
 

lisahe

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A Astragal14 , since you asked... I talked with the vet today and her biggest recommendation was to deworm both our cats regularly with Panacur. She really seems to think the problem was caused by parasites. It does make sense in some strange way... given the vomiting and, particularly, how much the cats, particularly Edwina, love hunting and eating bugs. And we have plenty of them!

I'm glad to be changing out the cats' diet, too, feeding more homemade cooked and no more commercial raw food. The cats really loved some of their raw food but they were getting tired of certain foods and the lists of ingredients in many of them were getting more complicated -- simplicity was one of the reasons I started on raw food in the first place! I confess that I also got tired of worrying about things like picking up dishes after x minutes and, generally, handling raw food.

And so! I'm going to keep adding fish oil to homemade food (the vet loves dha) for its anti-inflammatory action. I'll start, slowly, on Proviable in the coming days. A favorite change: since I won't be feeding raw foods with bone in them anymore, that means there's less change of constipation, which means no more pumpkin in the homemade food. (The vet's not into pumpkin and I've never been enthusiastic about it either, though it did seem to help.) I'm going to continue with the Vet's Best anti-hairball tablets, though. Over all, the vet just seems happy for me to feed basic, balanced homemade food. I also bought some Grandma Lucy's turkey food (Moxie) that's lightly cooked then freeze-dried; the cats like it. The hardest part of the menu is the canned foods since nearly anything has something I'd rather not feed but I'll figure that out, too.

On another note, since the cats go crazy and maul the autofeeder, I bought a tiny refrigerator (one of the little ones that cost $30-35) for storing the cats' nighttime snacks. Leaving their bedtime meal leftovers at the cats' feeding stations just meant Edwina ate everything but now I just put both cats' leftovers in the little refrigerator until somebody wakes up. No more kitchen trip, no more bright refrigerator light at 3:30 a.m. I wish I'd thought of this years ago!
 
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Astragal14

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I talked with the vet today and her biggest recommendation was to deworm both our cats regularly with Panacur. She really seems to think the problem was caused by parasites.
That's genius! And it completely makes sense that it could cause unexplained inflammation! I hope it helps a lot for both your cats. It sounds like you have a great vet.


I'm going to keep adding fish oil to homemade food (the vet loves dha) for its anti-inflammatory action
Do you have any more information regarding your vet's thoughts on DHA? I've only seen two sources that state cats need more DHA than EPA, everything else just gives the same recommendation as for dogs. I really want to learn more but there is practically no cat-specific data out there! My (very basic) understanding is that the EPA has the anti-inflammatory effect, but this may only be in humans. And I've only seen two fish oils made for pets that have more DHA than EPA. Which fish oil are you currently using?


I bought a tiny refrigerator (one of the little ones that cost $30-35) for storing the cats' nighttime snacks
This is another great idea! We've been doing something slightly similar for several weeks - I put chicken hearts in a bowl and place it in a bag under my pillow at night. Our mornings feel more relaxed since we're not dishing out food while stumbling around the kitchen immediately after waking up. And the best part is that my boy will wake me for snack time by gently tapping my nose with his paw. It's the cutest thing in the world! It's so cute that I don't mind it's in the wee hours of the morning!
 

lisahe

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That's genius! And it completely makes sense that it could cause unexplained inflammation! I hope it helps a lot for both your cats. It sounds like you have a great vet.
I'm really crossing my fingers that it works... for both cats! No matter what, Panacur in powder form was very easy to administer to both cats. Our regular vet is excellent as is the ultrasound vet she brings in: his report mentioned parasites of various types, plus deworming. Other vets involved in Edwina's case in one way or another also advocated for deworming.

Do you have any more information regarding your vet's thoughts on DHA? I've only seen two sources that state cats need more DHA than EPA, everything else just gives the same recommendation as for dogs. I really want to learn more but there is practically no cat-specific data out there! My (very basic) understanding is that the EPA has the anti-inflammatory effect, but this may only be in humans. And I've only seen two fish oils made for pets that have more DHA than EPA. Which fish oil are you currently using?
I realized right after the call that I wished I'd asked more questions about fish oil and DHA, though I didn't know why... despite having mentioned that the fish oil I use (NatureMade, which I also take) has both DHA and EPA. (I think fish oil was a "least of my worries" topic compared to the reduction in Edwina's stomach size!) After your questions, I did some quick googling and found this brief vet-written piece that mentions DHA/EPA, saying cats should get more DHA than EPA. Our vet suggested using a drop of DHA per cat per day so I may end up buying some DHA capsules. (But, like you, I want to see if I can find some other information first... then I'll check back in with the vet.)

This is another great idea! We've been doing something slightly similar for several weeks - I put chicken hearts in a bowl and place it in a bag under my pillow at night. Our mornings feel more relaxed since we're not dishing out food while stumbling around the kitchen immediately after waking up. And the best part is that my boy will wake me for snack time by gently tapping my nose with his paw. It's the cutest thing in the world! It's so cute that I don't mind it's in the wee hours of the morning!
I found this tiny refrigerators when I searched for "usual" mini fridges that can actually hold more than a couple little cat dishes! I get back to sleep so much better now that I don't have to not only make it to the kitchen and back but also open the big refrigerator door, which pours out so much light. I did miscalculate Edwina's appetite last night, meaning I didn't have enough food the first time, necessitating a trip to the kitchen, but at least it was already starting to get light out. ☀

And how funny that your cat taps your nose with his paw! Ireland sometimes wakes me up, too: she'll sit right next to my head and very gently draw a claw through my hair or across my cheek. Despite the use of the claw, it's also oddly cute!

Here's to easy during-the-night feedings!
 

Astragal14

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I apologize for taking this query so far off topic! I hope it's at least interesting and helpful information?


the fish oil I use (NatureMade, which I also take)
Do you give human fish oil to your cats? I was just considering doing this because of information I found regarding higher EPA & DHA dosages for cats. This is from 2014, but like with DHA, there's just so little out there that is exclusively for cats. If my cats would do better with increased EPA & DHA, then I'd prefer to give my cats a more concentrated fish oil (like for humans) instead of additional doses of their current fish oil. And I will definitely check with my vet before changing their current routine because the recommendation below is a lot higher than their current amount, like over 4 times higher!

Essential fatty acids for felines
For most cats, I recommend 500mg of EPA+DHA twice daily. For example, if one capsule contains 500mg of EPA+DHA, your cat would get one capsule twice daily. If one capsule contains 100mg of EPA+DHA, your cat would get five capsules twice daily. This is why it’s a good idea to choose the most concentrated product you can find so you don’t have to give your cat too many capsules with each meal.
 

lisahe

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I apologize for taking this query so far off topic! I hope it's at least interesting and helpful information?



Do you give human fish oil to your cats? I was just considering doing this because of information I found regarding higher EPA & DHA dosages for cats. This is from 2014, but like with DHA, there's just so little out there that is exclusively for cats. If my cats would do better with increased EPA & DHA, then I'd prefer to give my cats a more concentrated fish oil (like for humans) instead of additional doses of their current fish oil. And I will definitely check with my vet before changing their current routine because the recommendation below is a lot higher than their current amount, like over 4 times higher!

Essential fatty acids for felines
Yes, NatureMade is fish oil marketed for humans. :) I too found there are lots of recommendations that say to use what seem to be very large amounts of fish oil: Dr. Pierson's recipe now says 5,000-10,000 mg of fish oil for 2-3 pounds of meat! I currently use one capsule (1,200 mg) for one pound of meat. The cats eat about 3.2 ounces of that meat (plus the water and supplements that make it complete food) a day. Some of their current commercial foods (even Sheba!) also give them a little fish oil so I don't want to overdo the fish oil in their homemade. I'll need to reassess this once we finally get the cats on their new diet, now that all raw foods are off the menu and Edwina is settling back into eating normal amounts of food. I'm not sure they'd eat three homemade meals a day and it's not easy to find commercial foods both cats can and will eat! All the guar gum and tapioca in commercial foods, though, may soon force me to find a good recipe for homemade that tastes different from what I make with Alnutrin.

From the food trial files... I tried salmon oil on the cats at one point and they absolutely hated it, even at relatively small amounts. This was the Chewy brand; the bottle recommended 1 daily teaspoon per 10 pounds of body weight... unless my math is way off (which wouldn't be a surprise) that's a huge amount of omega-3s, more than I get in my two daily capsules for humans! When I was trying to figure out dosage I saw lots of other products and advice recommending similarly high amounts. Given that they hated the pure salmon oil (it was very smelly!) I went back to NatureMade, which I've been using for some years.
 
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