Author Topic: Cat food ponderings  (Read 3392 times)

Offline andrea1970

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Cat food ponderings
« on: December 06, 2005, 04:52:48 PM »
My 13-y.o. cat started having a bald spot at the base of his tail at the end of September.  I took him to the vet and he didn't think it looked like mites or other parasite.  The hairs were all broken like he was grooming them off rather than true balding.  His best guess was an allergy of some sort and gave him a cortisone shot.  Told me if the shot cleared it up and it magically re-appeared in 6-8 weeks, allergy was a good bet.  He also told me that cats sometimes develop an allergy to their food even if they've eaten it for years.  I had been feeding them Iams Senior for a long time.  So I figured I'd try again to switch them to Nutro - I had tried it a couple eyars ago without success -- this cat wouldn't eat it and would drive us nuts crying and begging for food even with a full food dish.

So I got them switched over during a couple weeks.  The balding got considerably better, but never completely disappeared.  Sure enough, the balding showed up again after about 6 weeks from the cortisone shot.  This kitty still wasn't thrilled with the Nutro senior indoor cat formula and did not want to eat it.  So I bought a bag of Chicken Soup light and got them swapped over to that.  It's been a couple weeks now and his tail is still balding.  But at least they seem happy to eat Chicken Soup.  Although it will be a pain for me to keep it in stock unless I start buying 20-lb bags.

So, I was on a search in the forum for food ingredients that may contribute to allergies.  I came across a thread and someone mentioned that the weight loss and hairball formulas contain a lot of fillers.  I wondered if this applied to the indoor cat formulas being offered now as well?

Are there any "top suspects" for food ingredients likely to cause allergies?

Of course, he's going back to the vet in the near future, but I wanted to give the new food a good trial first to see if it helped.  He'll probably draw some blood to make sure it's not a thyroid issue, but he doesn't think that's likely given he's holding his weight fine and it's not a true hair loss.

Thanks!
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Offline Goosemoose

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Re: Cat food ponderings
« Reply #1 on: December 06, 2005, 08:51:33 PM »
Do you see him grooming that area of his tail obcessively? I wonder if the physical grooming is causing it, or something causing it to fall out on its own.
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Offline Marybelle

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Re: Cat food ponderings
« Reply #2 on: December 06, 2005, 09:17:04 PM »
It certainly sounds more like a food allergy than anything else.  Have you tried a higher protein dry food?  Felidae is a good one, and Innova Evo.  It's possible the "fillers" are creating a problem.  If you go with something higher protein, it's also less likely that they'll put on weight, which cats seem prone to on many dry foods.  I think the thyroid testing is a good idea, and, if you can afford it, you might want to do a full blood panel at the same time, just to rule out any other possible health issues, such as kidney or liver problems. 

Something else to try, since it sounds like maybe his coat just isn't as strong and healthy as it should be would be adding extra omega 3 fatty acids to his food.  Of course, don't try all this stuff at once, or you'll never know what fixed the problem.   ;)

Offline andrea1970

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Re: Cat food ponderings
« Reply #3 on: December 06, 2005, 09:23:39 PM »
Goose --
No, I don't see him grooming excessively.  But it's possible he's a closet groomer.  I also wonder if a food allergy type thing may be why he's become so obnoxious the past few months.

How long should I give the Chicken Soup food before trying another one?

Andrea
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Offline Marybelle

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Re: Cat food ponderings
« Reply #4 on: December 06, 2005, 09:26:19 PM »
For that time-table, you're probably better off talking to the vet.  I'm not exactly sure how long it takes for an allergy like that to work it's way out of the system, so to speak.

Offline andrea1970

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Re: Cat food ponderings
« Reply #5 on: December 07, 2005, 12:27:13 AM »
ALso -- Omega 3 FA - would that be like fish oil?  Any other good, palatable sources?  The only "people food" my cats seem to be interested in is canned tuna fish.  :P

The rest of his coat looks good.  The main visible signs of his age are the increased pigmentation in his mouth and his eyes getting a little cloudy.  Not like cataracts I don't think -- more just the "old critter" haze.  But I do wonder if that could be an indicator that his vision isn't what it used to be.

I'll probably take him in within the next couple weeks or so.  Give him a good week to ten days on only the Chicken Soup Light and see how he's doing.  I don't want to keep switching food helter skelter.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Offline Marybelle

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Re: Cat food ponderings
« Reply #6 on: December 07, 2005, 09:56:22 PM »
I actually bought a bottle at Petsmart formulated for cats!  LOL  Or, you could get Omega 3 gelcaps from a health food store (or even Walmart) and cut them open to mix with a bit of canned food.  :)

Offline aphoeniceus

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Re: Cat food ponderings
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2005, 10:30:49 PM »
My vet had a whole differernt thing to say to be about food allergies.  One of my girls has a consant itching problem where she is always ruffing up her fur, licking excessively, and runs crazy trying to 'get away'.  She is also quite overweight. 

I asked my vet about a thyroid problem and he wouldnt test for it because according to veterinary research, cats just dont get thyroid problems, there has never been a documented case of cats with this problem.  He is an excellent vet, he even does every kind of exotic imaginable, so I trust what he says.

We tried the food allergy thing, which he thinks is the most likely problem.  We tried the Omega 3 and put it in her food but it didnt do any good.  Ive switched diets several times with no change.  He never offered the cortisone shot, maybe I should ask him about that.  I guess there is a specially formulated diet for cats with food allergies but I didnt want to pay $30 for a 10lb bag of what I think was science diet.

Anyway, just thought I would say what my vet has told me about food allergies and the thyroid thing.
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Offline Marybelle

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Re: Cat food ponderings
« Reply #8 on: December 08, 2005, 07:23:09 AM »
I asked my vet about a thyroid problem and he wouldnt test for it because according to veterinary research, cats just dont get thyroid problems, there has never been a documented case of cats with this problem.  He is an excellent vet, he even does every kind of exotic imaginable, so I trust what he says.

Um.  I personally know of several cats with thyroid problems.  You might want to do a bit of research yourself, and ask questions of your vet.  Thyroid problems are relatively easy to treat if you catch them.  I personally would be worried about any vet who denies that there could be a problem like that, and ask where he found his research....

Offline kim

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Re: Cat food ponderings
« Reply #9 on: December 08, 2005, 06:00:41 PM »
I asked my vet about a thyroid problem and he wouldnt test for it because according to veterinary research, cats just dont get thyroid problems, there has never been a documented case of cats with this problem.  He is an excellent vet, he even does every kind of exotic imaginable, so I trust what he says.

Um.  I personally know of several cats with thyroid problems.  You might want to do a bit of research yourself, and ask questions of your vet.  Thyroid problems are relatively easy to treat if you catch them.  I personally would be worried about any vet who denies that there could be a problem like that, and ask where he found his research....

she probably is talking about HYPOthyroidism (which is what her cat would be most likely to have if it were a dog) - overweight cats are typically very rarely hyPERthyroid. which is what cats get.

however,i believe there has been ONE case of a hypothyroid cats, and we DO create hypothyroid cats (iatrogenic) after hyperthyroid cats are treated with radioactive iodine treatment and we successfully completely kill their thyroid gland.

cant hurt to test.
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Offline Mischief_Love

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Re: Cat food ponderings
« Reply #10 on: January 21, 2006, 04:13:14 AM »
Maybe your cat's sensitive to fleas...If I don't keep advantage on my cat she starts to over-groom that area. My vet said something along the lines of their nerve endings all and at the base of the tail so whenever they get bitten that's where they feel it....and scratch/chew...I hope that made sense.

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Offline Tamara

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Re: Cat food ponderings
« Reply #11 on: January 21, 2006, 10:55:53 AM »
The most high allergen ingredients in foods are the grains.  Especially anything corn and wheat.  I would try to find a grain free food.  Innova Evo is one or else switch to a canned diet, Wellness is grain free.  Canned diet isn't cheap but this is what I have done and I am seeing improvements in my cats' coats already.  If you want to provide some oils you can buy wild salmon oil in gel caps.  I just prick the caps with a pin and squeeze some onto the food.  I have fed this to my cats with success, they eat their food just fine with the salmon oil on it.

Offline andrea1970

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Re: Cat food ponderings
« Reply #12 on: January 21, 2006, 01:09:17 PM »
I actually bought a bag of Natural balance venison and green peas this week, plus a couple cans.  We'll see how he does on that.  It's kinda pricey for feeding 2 cats ($12.99/ 5lbs at Petco).  But I suppose if it works, it's cheaper than cortisone shots routinely.  Plus it's possible I could make my own mix of ground elks and peas and possibly not have to feed quite as much of the store bought food.
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Offline Beth

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Re: Cat food ponderings
« Reply #13 on: January 22, 2006, 05:32:11 AM »
soya, cereals, wheat gluten - all are know to cause allergies in cats, and are predominately found in almost all dry cat foods. If you can, switch the cats over to canned food like Wellness, Merrick, Fancy Feast. Even though some of the falvours of those do have  bad 'extras' you just have to read the lables before you buy.

Wild Salmon Oil is good for coat/skin complaints.

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Offline forkyfork

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Re: Cat food ponderings
« Reply #14 on: January 22, 2006, 11:01:28 PM »
One thing to keep in mind when picking out a food is that the manufacturer dosnt have to list preservatives added to the meat before they recieve it for processing.

One of them is ethoxyquin, the others being BHA and BHT. Im pretty sure this was causing all the problems with my boys skin and paw pads years ago when he was eating Nutro and eukanuba. His paws would crack and bleed.

I noticed on my bag of wellness that it states that it is human grade meat which is ethoxyquin free. I am switching them over to innova EVO because of the lower carbs even the wellness calculates out to about 30% the EVO is 7% carbs cats need less carbs or it throws their blood sugar off. It may be more expensive to feed the EVO is actually less but med bills for a diabetic cat would be much more.

Offline Beth

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Re: Cat food ponderings
« Reply #15 on: January 24, 2006, 05:30:22 PM »
EVO is 7% carbs. It may be more expensive to feed the EVO is actually less but med bills for a diabetic cat would be much more.

Evo is the 'best' dried food you can feed cats however, it is still dry. It's ok to feed so long as you keep an eye on the cat's weight (some cats have the tendancy to gain weight on Evo) and the cat does not have a tendancy to Pancreatitis (it is relatively high in fats, 22%).

Beth
« Last Edit: January 24, 2006, 05:35:13 PM by Beth »