What dry food for diabetic cats?

hexiesfriend

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When my cat Cici was diagnosed with diabetes my Vet told me I needed to stop feeding the cat grain free dry food and start on science diet w/d. Cici is 13lbs and after 3 years on the w/d, hasn't lost any weight. My overlove has been blamed and to be honest since she is 17 years old and was diagnosed at 14, I haven't been trying too hard to limit her food intake. I have just seen threads on how bad science diet is any suggestions on a dry food that is available at a pet food store like petsmart or petco? I sometimes travel during the day and because she is diabetic, I free feed the dry and give my cats a few tablespoons of friskies wet cat food 2 times a day. I have tried to talk to my vet about switching food because the rest of my cats who also eat the w/d seem to be gaining weight. Though she is a very good vet, she is stuck on science diet or royal canin. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated.
 

denice

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Some vets are definitely stuck on the prescription foods.  Is your kitty on insulin?  I understand about traveling during the day but is there any way you could get your kitty at least primarily on wet food, maybe 2 meals a day  and a very small amount of dry to nibble on.  Basically the best diet for kitties in general would be the best for your kitty as well, high protein low carb.  The deal with kibble is that it tends to be high in carbs even the grain free ones have carb laden fillers in them.   

http://www.catinfo.org/  is a good web site for general nutrition info and includes a chart of commercial foods with protein, fat and carb percentages.   There are foods from grocery store brands on through to very high priced brands that are at least decent quality.  Pates in general are lower in carbs.
 

marc999

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If you sometimes travel during the day, do you have time to lay down a can of wet food in the morning before you leave? 

Ideally some food should be given 2-3x a day, but I'm sure one full 5.5-6 oz. can of Grreat Choice (Poultry Platter, Mixed Grill, Country Dinner) (PetSmart) brand once / day, is better than free feeding whatever dry food you can find.  The calories should be indicated on the back of the can. 

You can also find sales on Fancy Feast classics, or Friskies Pate.   

Since you mentioned PetSmart, those 3 are likely the least expensive canned wet food alternatives, especially when PetSmart has a sale going on. That's the time to stock up. 

Failing that - stay with grain free kibble if you must but portion out the servings.  Read the bag to figure out the calories per cup. 

For example, I have a bag of Orijen Regional Red - 500 calories per cup is a lot and no darn way would I want my cat even eating 1/2 of that in a day.

If you're away for a weekend, then yeah dry food is the only option if nobody is available to check on kitty. But go easy on the portions.  You could measure out 2 days worth as a trial run and see how much is left after 12/ 24 / 36 hrs., then 48 hrs, then you'll know how much extra to add without over doing it.   

Doesn't Petsmart have Wellness Core or Innova Evo dry foods? Just stay with your grain free kibble when you can't give wet, there seems to be enough agreement that Science Diet is not the answer. 
 

oneandahalfcats

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Diabetic cats should really not be on dry food or foods containing a lot of carbohydrates. While Science Diet may be slightly better than Royal Canin, it still contains a lot of carbs in the form of potatoes, peas and both pea and potato starch. With Royal Canin, this takes the form of chicken meal, corn gluten meal, barley, wheat gluten. These grain sources are also responsible for weight gain! Ultimately, your cat would do much better on a high protein, low carb wet food as Marc and Denice suggested, which will introduce more water where dry food can deplete water stores. Water being very important for kidney health.

Your vet is wrong to make the suggestion to switch from grain-free to the dry food choices that contain grain. She/He should be supporting the feeding of grain-free dry with emphasis on a grain-free diet that is high protein, low carb, if you MUST feed this. A lot of vets have very little knowledge of feline nutrition, so sometimes you have to take suggestions made by your vet with a grain of salt, and do your own research. Many vets will prescribe Science Diet and Royal Canin as these foods are often sold in their clinics, and they stand to make money in promoting these diets. To borrow an analogy from Dr. Pierson of catinfo.org, serving dry food to a diabetic cat is like pouring gasoline on fire!

Denice posted the link to catinfo.org which is a very good site to learn about cat nutrition. In particular to your cat, the following link will take you to Dr. Pierson's page on Diabetes : http://www.catinfo.org/?link=felinediabetes. There is a section in this page on Carbohydrates where Dr. Pierson explains the association with carbohydrates and diabetes and dispels the myth behind so-called prescription diets. Both Hills and Royal Canin are mentioned in this section.
 
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hexiesfriend

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 Sorry for the long post . . .Yes she is on insulin.  I do that now with the kibble with the exception of a whole bowl of kibble out rather than a small amount.  I have 4 other cats and I want to make sure if she needs food during the day it is there.  I blame myself sometimes for training them to be free fed on the dry, but when she was diagnosed diabetic, I had nightmares of coming home with a cat in an insulin coma because she had nothing to eat, so I started leaving a full bowl of dry food out.  I started with Evo, which is on the low carb list for diabetic cats, but I was told I needed to switch to the W/D.  I probably should have suspected something, when all the cats of the house loved the "Diet Food" (W/D)  When does that happen?  My concern is not really my diabetic cat. She is 17, her insulin is in check and to be honest I prefer to just spoil her as she has made it this far. It is that the other cats of the house who are now getting overweight from the W/D.  My vet suggested locking the diabetic cat in my room all day with the dry food and not having any food out for the rest, but I don't want to do that to her, there has to be another way.  I was told by someone that Evo may be too high in protein for an older cat and that she needs to be on W/D or Royal Canin. Anyone heard this?   My diabetic cat liked the Evo as well as all the others. She is the same weight now as she was on the Evo, so that idea of losing weight for her has come and gone,but the others cats have gained weight and are between 3-12 year old and I think something can be done.  Any help would be appreciated.               
 

smartyfoj

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I don't know much about a diabetic cat but the only time I've heard that you have to worry about high protein foods, and really its the phosphorus content, is when you have a cat with kidney problems. I have heard the best thing you can do for a cat with diabetes is to feed high protein, low carb wet food. 
 
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hexiesfriend

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Thanks.  I have read the article specifically to diabetics.  It recommends that to try  EVO when transitioning from dry to all wet food.   It also says to make sure you tell your vet you are switching to low carb as the insulin probably will need to be adjusted downward.  I always thought that was the goal anyway.  We will see how that goes. . . . .  
 

oneandahalfcats

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I was told by someone that Evo may be too high in protein for an older cat and that she needs to be on W/D or Royal Canin. Anyone heard this?   My diabetic cat liked the Evo as well as all the others. She is the same weight now as she was on the Evo, so that idea of losing weight for her has come and gone,but the others cats have gained weight and are between 3-12 year old and I think something can be done.  Any help would be appreciated.               
Yes, Evo is pretty high at 50% for protein but this is good and preferable to a diet that contains too many carbs such as the Royal Canin food. Grain carbs such as corn and wheat gluten are cheap forms of protein which is why you will often see these ingredients at the top of the list in many Royal Canin foods. It used to be thought that as cats age they require less protein but in more recent studies this has been dispelled. I agree with SmartyFOJ that as long as her kidneys are functioning fine, there should be no concern about protein.

Yes, good point about the amount of insulin. Lower carb content means she should need less insulin.
 
 
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peaches08

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Have you checked out the forums at www.felinediabetes.com? There are very experienced people there who can help with food, different types/actions of insulin, and blood glucose curves.

To answer about low carb and dry, EVO is a good choice. My diabetic cat was able to stay off insulin while eating only the EVO (she quit eating canned).
 

oneandahalfcats

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You're very welcome .. What a doll your woobie is .. Good luck with everything!
 

marc999

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Well, I don't think that's proof that your cats are gaining weight.  Even though, yes, it's overpriced and full of carbs. 

You free feed right, in addition to giving 'a few' tablespoons of friskies twice per day? 

There's your calorie answer.  I don't know how you're going to stop a cat from eating, unless you portion it out, or confine her to a separate room.   

Since that's not an option or decision you want to make - short of forcing her to get on a treadmill - what else is there?  ;) 

Good luck. Give her to me for a week - we'll go jogging. 
 
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hexiesfriend

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My concern is not for the diabetic cat, but the others as they have gained weight.  The food is left out, not for the other cats, but the diabetic cat, as I travel during the week.   The other cats eat the food left out for the diabetic cat.  I wouldn't free feed my cats if I didn't have a diabetic cat, I know this isn't a good idea.  The vet suggested locking the diabetic cat in my bedroom during the day with the food, but I don't really want to do that  since she would not have a place to sit in the sun. She would spend most of the day under a bed as she is too old to make it on top.  She is 17 and doesn't have too many years left and I want her to enjoy then.  By the same token I don't want the other cats to suffer. I am just trying to find a compromise is all.  
 

ritz

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Do you think an automatic timed feeder might work. I believe there are some that are dual, two side by side, open at different times.
 
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hexiesfriend

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I will look for one like that and test it out on the weekends when I am here all day.  They have always been cost prohibitive but if I can buy one with 2 dishes, that may be enough food to assure my diabetic cat has food available but, not too much for the others.  Thanks for the suggestion.
 

denice

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If not an automatic feeder maybe you could do something with putting 2 of your other kitties in the bedroom and switch them so the same two aren't in the bedroom all the time.  That would cut the free feeding days in half for the other kitties.  
 

marc999

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Yeah, auto feeder is a great idea. Except, when I did a bit of looking into them, it seemed difficult to find a reliable one.  I'll have to dig through my notes - there was one in particular that seems super reliable, albeit pricey. 

I'd really like to get one myself. 

Edit - might be this one, darn expensive though: 
-Runs on A/C (could be a problem if you have power outage..hmm.)

Or, here's a less expensive one with 5 food slots (either five days - OR, 2.5 days worth if fed twice per day).  

.

-Runs on batteries. (big advantage over A/C power)

-Some people claim their cats can open them, yet based on the sheer number of positive reviews, that must be a few very smart kitties. 
 
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creepyowl

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I called one place about that EVO food and they told me that it was discontinued in Canada due to recalls and such.  They recommended a brand called Orijin.  From the web site it seems like a great choice for a diabetic kitty.
 
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