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  1. #1
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    Kitty question: sensitive tummy

    It's been a while since I posted a question about my little bears, but my boy, Lhamo, is sick again. This is maybe the third or fourth time he's had the runs since I took him home in October 2008 (okay, that actually doesn't seem bad). Thankfully, he's not acting sick unless he's getting cramps, so in between he's his normal, perky, lovey, energetic self and drinking water. He's been tested for parasites in the past and he's been clean -- I think he just has a sensitive tummy. He's also a little overweight -- I should probably mention that, too. After getting sick three times since about 3am this morning, I'm really starting to think a change of food is in order. I took away his bowl to try to clear his system, and hope to feed him again when I get home from work a little later (I think he last ate at about 11:30 last night, so that'll be maybe a 16 or 17 hour fast, depending on when I get home).

    So first question: for those of you who feed your kitties sensitive system formulas, what do you use? I've had them both on Wellness Indoor formula for some time, and am now looking at Purina One Special Care Sensitive Systems. I'm a little strapped for cash anyway, so I wonder if this might be a good choice. I've been so good about the holistic stuff, but now I'm not so sure. This doesn't seem as awful as a lot of other foods (and no pork -- what up, Science Diet???), and I wonder if I've just been overly cautious. Thoughts?

    Whatever I choose, should I mix in the Wellness to transition them, as vets have recommended when switching food, or should I just give him the new stuff straight up, right away? (I'd probably mix for Pema, his sister, at least, since her tummy seems to be okay.)

    Also, I've been reading about giving a teaspoon of lowfat or non-fat plain yogurt to kitties with diarrhea. Has anyone tried this? Or probiotics that you get from the pet food store?

    I should also mention that if he's not better by tonight I am taking him to the vet -- I just want to wait it out a bit because last time they had him on this crazy antibiotic regimen just in case, and his diarrhea lasted over a week. Don't want to prolong his misery if I don't have to!

    Thanks for any advice!

  2. #2

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    Our kitty had a similar issue. The yogurt helped. She did a lot better when we transitioned her onto raw foods (frozen) we got from a local pet supply store (not one of the big chains.) She did a lot better on rabbit than she'd done on Iams, Science Diet, or various prescription diets provided by the vet. I found the raw foods kind of gross, but my kitty seemed very, very happy with them.

    And just in case -- do you happen to have any plants that he might be nibbling on, and, if he's an outside kitty, might he have been exposed to a sick animal?

  3. #3
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    If you can get him to eat it, try a little plain yogurt--NOT A LOT. Cats can have issues with dairy and it might make the runs worse.

    I would talk with the vet about a brand of food. I know it makes me a horrible cat mom but I've actually done pretty well with Nine Lives Plus Care (the one for urinary tract and hairballs--my two big cats are very fuzzy and on the Cat Chow and Whiskas they were hacking up a lot more hairballs.) You also might want to think about transitioning to an all-canned diet if he's not getting on with the dry, rather than switching to an ultrapricey grain-free dry food (which could also help if it's actually the grains, as cats don't need grain products.) My vet prefers I feet more wet than dry, as it's better for their system and makes sure they're getting fluids even when I can't monitor which is drinking the most.

    Oh, I've also gotten them 'cat grass' (basically sprouted grass seed in a bowl) to give them greens to chew. Since my guys are indoor-only, they don't get to nibble outside like the dogs do.

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    The fast is a good idea. When my cat is having a particular bad day in the poop department, I make him fast and it usually helps.

    Different cats react differently to different foods and for different reasons, so you should have the vet figure out what the problem is if he doesn't recover soon.

    You probably should not feed him fat. Certain baby food or pumpkin puree (with nothing added) might help. Maybe you can call your vet and ask for suggestions.

    Natural Balance has a line of cat foods that tend to work well with many cats with stomach problems. (My cat loves the duck and the venison versions. I only feed it to him when I'm desperate to get him to eat something because it aggravates his pancreatitis, but I think this food works well for many cats with stomach problems).

    One thing to think about when it comes to cost for cat foods is that some of the foods that look more expensive based on cost per ounce don't really turn out to be more expensive. The cat doesn't have to eat as much of it because there aren't fillers. Plus, a good cat food may save you on future vet bills.

    If you can't find a commercial food that works, your vet may have to prescribe something. My cat eats the prescription Iams low-res canned food. It's the only thing that works at all for him because has both IBD and pancreatitis. Unfortunately, you may have to try a number of things before you figure out what works.

    Fortiflora is a probiotic that works well for many cats with diarhea. (And cats tend to love the taste). Amazon sells it online for significantly less than the vet will charge, though you'd have to buy a minimum of 30 servings.

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    www.naturapet.com

    Check out their foods. The website has tons of info to help you see what would be best for your kitty!

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allskate View Post
    Natural Balance has a line of cat foods that tend to work well with many cats with stomach problems. (My cat loves the duck and the venison versions.
    It could just be a flu or some sort of short term bug, but if it continues, it could be a sensitivity to some particular food. If that's the case, you may have to start a diet with a variety of different foods (some easily digestible, some with limited ingredients) to see what will work. Unfortunately, you usually have to keep them on a particular diet for some time to really evaluate how your cat responds.

    The garden kitty is currently on a duck/venison diet as well. He prefers venison, but it tends to be a bit too rich, so I mix it with the duck.
    "The Devil is joining in, and that's never a good sign." Phil Liggett

  7. #7
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    Thanks, all!

    He's not an outdoor cat, but it's been nice out so I've had the windows open. Sometimes some leaves and things fall in through the top of the window screen. I wonder if he could have eaten something like that, or perhaps a bug or something. I did have lilacs in the house, which he and Pema were both eating (well, the leaves), but I've read that lilacs aren't toxic to cats and I threw them away by the end of the weekend, I think.

    Unfortunately Lhamo is not a big fan of the wet food. He loves the smell, but never seems to eat a lot of it when I give it to him -- and I've tried quite a few kinds. He always wants dry food, though.

    They actually both used to be on Evo, which I think is grain-free, and that wasn't so great for them, either. I think it was a little too rich for them, which is why they've been on the Wellness.

    I actually called my vet a little while ago just to check and they said the Purina One was a good brand. Maybe I'll get a little bag just to try. If that doesn't work, I might try some chicken until his tummy is settled or a tiny bit of yogurt. Thankfully the vet didn't seem too concerned this time -- phew!

    ETA, I was wondering if it was a bug, too, but the fact that he doesn't seem ill makes me think otherwise. I may try the Natural Balance -- not venison, though. I don't quite see how that's natural for a cat ("oh my god, that little tabby took down a buck!"). Maybe duck. Maybe.
    Last edited by scheherazade; 04-21-2010 at 09:11 PM.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post

    They actually both used to be on Evo, which I think is grain-free, and that wasn't so great for them, either. I think it was a little too rich for them, which is why they've been on the Wellness.
    Natura (who makes Evo) suggests California Natural for animals with food sensitivities. May be worth a try.

    My husband actually works at their plant. This food is made with ingredients so good that they have to tell the employees not to eat anything. Seriously, they are regularly tempted to sneak a bite from the apples, cranberries and veggies.

  9. #9
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    "Natural" for a cat is pretty much any meat-they're obligate carnivornes. Rabbit, venison, duck, chicken, beef, so long as it's animal protein.

    Will he actually eat cooked chicken? My one cat, HRH Jet, does not like HUMAN food. Unless it's Polish deli ham or deli turkey. He won't even eat salmon. Also, only certain brands of canned food. And only certain TEXTURES. Pate is yucky. Shredded is all right, but only if it's not a fish variety. Chunks is best, but the real-chicken-looking chunks, not the squares. (He's THAT picky.)

    And you might try the cat grass. Jet will chow down on that. Just be careful of plants--after reading all the kinds that can make cats sick, I just don't have indoor plants any more. Especially not after the brutal slasher killing of the lucky bamboo. They didn't eat it, they just shredded it.

  10. #10

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    My cats eat the Purina One Sensitive Stomach, though neither of them have one. But if you read the list of ingredients, the first one is actually meat. I haven't found that on any other store brand.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    ETA, I was wondering if it was a bug, too, but the fact that he doesn't seem ill makes me think otherwise. I may try the Natural Balance -- not venison, though. I don't quite see how that's natural for a cat ("oh my god, that little tabby took down a buck!"). Maybe duck. Maybe.
    They don't have a mouse flavor. The reason they use things like venison and duck is because, for some reasons, there are cats with IBD who do much better with novel proteins.

    If your cats don't like the wet food and you're going to give them probiotics anyway, try sprinkling the probiotics on the wet food and see if they like it. My cat would probably eat anything if it was sprinkled with Fortiflora. He goes nuts if he sees me take out a packet.

    Natural Balance does have both wet and dry cat food.

  12. #12
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    Oh! I did remember one weird thing that he's eaten in the last week: canteloupe. He just LOVES canteloupe. I brought a quarter into the living room last week and both of them wouldn't leave me alone. They were climbing all over me, crying, sticking their faces in the fruit -- I had to stand up to eat it! But I did give them a couple of small pieces because I had heard that cats love it, and couldn't remember anything about it being bad for them. And then on Sunday night I let Lhamo lick the rind of another quarter I was cutting up. He first got sick on Monday evening, but if that were it, I wouldn't think that it would still be bothering him -- would it?

    If the Purina One doesn't work (I'm going to leave work early to pick it up in a few minutes) I am going to try either California Natural or Natural Balance. They've both had the wet foods from each line, so they'd probably like either. I'll check 'em out when I pick up the other one today. (Neither can get enough of the Purina One that my roommate feeds her older, super fluffy kitty, so I think they'll like this one, too)

    Oh, and he does love cooked chicken. When I made chicken soup for Passover a few weeks ago he was also climbing all over me. I gave him and his sister, as well my roommate's kitty, some of the boiled chicken and man did they lap it up and roar for more.

    I'll ask my vet about Fortiflora, too. That's not sold in pet food stores then?

    Thanks everyone!

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    I had a cat who loved cantaloupe, too. It never made her sick, though. She used to just plop down by the oven when I was cooking chicken. There wasn't anything she loved more than chicken. She once got into the garbage to finish off some leftover chicken fajitas and greeted me at the door with onion breath.

    You can call around if Fortiflora is sold by any stores near you, but probably not. It definitely is available from Amazon.com, though. http://www.amazon.com/FortiFlora-Fel...1884017&sr=8-5

    If you just want a few packets to try out, you might just ask your vet for them.

  14. #14
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    I switched dry food after too many cats threw up too often.

    At first they liked Wellness Core Active Daily Formula. Then all at once they all decided they hated it.

    Then I tried Halo Spot's Stew Sensitive Formula for Cats, wholesome turkey recipe. They liked that but lately it makes some of them urp.

    Then we tried Purina Pro Plan (adult) Sensitive Skin and Stomach Formula. No complaints and hella less urping from all. So that is what is fed to them the most.

    They pretty much told me they didn't like any of the wet food they have been eating for years with no complaints. So I bought those new lil pans of what is basically pure fish or chicken. They like the fish flavors, plates are completely cleaned, and none of them urps after eating.

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    Just a quick update: he's acting more like himself, and was very happy to see me when I got home this evening. I mixed up some of the new food (I did end up getting the Purina One Sensitive Systems after debating on the Natural Balance -- they didn't have California Natural) with the old, and fed them ("finally, ma!"). He and Pema both seemed to like it, though who knows with the mix. Six hours later, and knock on wood, he seems to be okay. He seemed to be acting a little lethargic earlier, just sleeping on my roommate's bed and then on her floor, but then he climbed into my lap and purred and purred while i gave him a rubdown. We played with his favorite toy, the cat dancer, a little while ago, and he was a jumpin' fool. Still not completely back to normal, maybe a bit less energy than usual, but I figure that would happen to anyone who's gotten the runs three times in one morning. Hopefully he'll continue to improve tonight!

    (And I think I will look into that probiotic -- couldn't hurt, right?)

  16. #16

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    There can be salmonella on cantaloupe rind. That could be the problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scheherazade View Post
    He seemed to be acting a little lethargic earlier, just sleeping on my roommate's bed and then on her floor, but then he climbed into my lap and purred and purred while i gave him a rubdown.
    Isn't it normal for a cat to be lethargic?

    Glad puss is okay.
    When you are up to your arse in alligators it is difficult to remember you were only meant to be draining the swamp.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by JasperBoy View Post
    There can be salmonella on cantaloupe rind. That could be the problem.
    It could also just be that cantelope's high-fiber, high-sugar, high-water-content, too. A TINY bit shouldn't hurt but fruit in general is not going to agree with a cat's stomach!

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