Transitioning dry to wet food during sickness

OrangeTabbyDad

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Hi,
I have another thread running, but I thought it'd be best to keep the topics separate, for the purpose of conversation isolation :)

Has anyone had any success with transitioning a picky eater who has an underlying health condition (e.g. IHC/CKD/Cancer), off of Dry kibble to any wet food? If you have, can you share your experiences?
I'm struggling to figure out how to get Pixie off of dry kibble and on to ANY wet food... So far, I haven't been able to find something she likes, and that includes fortiflora, any liver flavor, parmesan, bonito flakes, or freeze dried toppers.

I guess my bigger question is; Is it even advisable to transition a cat to a new diet while they're at the peak of their inappetance and sickness? or is it better to just let them eat whatever they want until they start recovering?

Thanks for your input.

-Pixie's Dad-
 

mrsgreenjeens

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My advise is to not try transition her at this time. CKD can cause inappetance anyway, and depending on the type of cancer and how it's being treated, that, too can cause a lack of appetite. As does hypercalcemia. To me, you are fighting a losing battle trying to at the moment. I would just let her eat whatever she wants. Yes, IMHO it's better for kidney cats to eat wet food, but sometimes it just doesn't work out. Maybe you can give her Hydra Care to help her with her hydration levels. Are you doing sub-q fluids as well?
 
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OrangeTabbyDad

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That's what I was thinking. I think diet changes can be a bit stressful, so holding off and imposing less stress is probably bemefitial to some degree.
Pixie has been diagnosed with IHC. So a high fibre diet is being recommended. I'm thinking that once she gains back some consistency to her appetite, I'll be working on transitioning her to Weruva's Funk in the Trunk.
 

lisahe

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Dietary changes can definitely be stressful, particularly, of course, if they don't work.

Sometimes, though, they can happen, even in a very sick cat. We had some positive results when our previous cat was sick and in her last months. She was a very senior cat (at least 16) and had kidney disease plus IBD/lymphoma and an arrhythmia that prevented her from being fully diagnosed. I took her off dry food, which she'd eaten all her life, as soon as she was diagnosed with kidney disease. She was very inappetent but (long story short) I found some foods that she actually enjoyed eating. Raw food (which she loved from the first bite and which the vet had forbidden) and certain canned foods from Weruva, Merrick, and Wellness went particularly well. What was most surprising was that she would actually eat them after so many years of just dry food and Fancy Feast fish pates. I'm glad we transitioned Brooksie to the wet food. Her IBD symptoms lessened somewhat during that time and her kidney values improved a little, plus she truly did enjoy some of those new foods. (She loved eating so seeing her not eat much was just awful.) What was oddest was that she tried so many new things that we were able to completely stop feeding her dry food.

I realize that her case is very, very different from Pixie's and that making so many changes during an illness might not work for many cats. But I did want to let you know that we were able to transition her to a very different diet despite multiple illnesses.
 
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OrangeTabbyDad

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That's so very reassuring lisahe lisahe .
Do you Remeber what raw food she liked?
Pixie does love weruva, but she doesn't like the texture of the chicken flakes, nor the crumbles of tuna. I think she's obsessed with the gravy in the weruva classic line. She also really loves the BFF tuna and chicken flavor...but again, she won't actually eat much of the meat, so I'm not sure what to do with that.
 

lisahe

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That's so very reassuring lisahe lisahe .
Do you Remeber what raw food she liked?
Pixie does love weruva, but she doesn't like the texture of the chicken flakes, nor the crumbles of tuna. I think she's obsessed with the gravy in the weruva classic line. She also really loves the BFF tuna and chicken flavor...but again, she won't actually eat much of the meat, so I'm not sure what to do with that.
I'm glad you find that reassuring. Honestly, I found it almost shocking at the time since she'd been so very fixated on her fish pates, which were likely part of her digestive issues. I didn't know at the time that it's not good to feed so much fish. And that cats can get addicted to fish.

Yes, I definitely remember the raw food! It was such a big surprise that she liked it that there's no way I could forget: it was Rad Cat, which was great food but is no available. Stella & Chewy's "Stella's Selects" food, which is sold frozen in little medallions, is very similar, though. Our current cats loved it until I took them off raw food.

Weruva has lots of foods that are low in phosphorus, making it great for kidney cats. Some of the gravies in their foods are kind of carby and some of their foods have thickeners that we can't feed (xanthan gum and any kind of potato are out) but I'd still recommend Weruva if it fits a cat's diet. Do you think that Pixie might eat the BFF if you were to puree it in a mini food processor with a little extra water? I did that with some Weruva foods for Brooksie; she often lapped them right up. Not everything purees well but some does. if Pixie's even remotely interested in the pureed food, you might be able to put some dry food on it to entice her to eat more... as I mentioned in your other thread, I've been feeding Ireland (our picky "now" cat!) puddles of water-added wet food with Dr. Elsey's dry food on top. She's so happy!

In any case, I hope you're able to find -- sooner or later, whatever works for you and Pixie -- something good that Pixie will eat. I don't know if Brooksie got to the point where she was so hungry she'd eat anything but she really did start digging into certain things. The strangest was watching her gnaw on chunks (!) of a Wellness pate with some combination like venison, beef, and lamb.

Crossing fingers for Pixie to eat more!
 
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