The Childfree Life

changing diet for old cat guts
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Author:  Tempest [ Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:28 pm ]
Post subject:  changing diet for old cat guts

My cat lately started having some digestive woes that resulted in a few days of diarrhea next to her litter box (at least it's a linoleum floor). Still urinated in her litterbox with perfect accuracy, though. I packed the poor thing into her carrier and took her to the vet. I was very worried, because diarrhea can be a symptom of all sorts of things and of course my disaster brain was kicking into gear.

The vet checked her out and said all her innards seem to be normal on palpation, no signs of pain, tumors, foreign objects, parasites, inflammation, etc. I'd also told him that there didn't seem to be anything unusual about her poo--no blood, etc. The doctor said it's likely just aging digestive tract that isn't able to synch up quite as accurately, and thus gets a little tricky about processing fiber. So we're going to increase the amount of meat and decrease fiber a bit, and see if we can hit a balance that her old guts can process better.

The vet also supplied me with 3 cans of super-rich, super-palatable wet food to help her get back up to fighting weight. I offered her a blob of it on a spoon, and she almost ate the spoon along with it. I've never seen her so excited about any other food before, so I'm sure this stuff will do the trick.

If anyone else has dealt with old cat digestive woes & has some ideas, I'm all ears. Hopefully we can get this worked out so she can enjoy the rest of her retirement on the couch as usual.

Author:  CarryOn [ Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:01 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: changing diet for old cat guts

Not cat, but dog, and she's had digestive issues as long as we've had her (14 years). We've had to change her food multiple times over her life, and right now, she's doing well with grain-free Freshpet.

Our first vet diagnosed her with IBS, but our second vet said she didn't think so, but that she thought she had something wrong with her emptying mechanism from her stomach to her intestines.

Whatever it is, when she has a flare-up, she's off her food, she's restless, she's got diarrhea, and we can hear her stomach working from one room away, it's so loud.

All the vet can do is give us a pill that calms her stomach. With the pill, an episode lasts about eight hours; without it, it's more like 16 hours.

Good luck!

Author:  The Alicorn [ Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: changing diet for old cat guts

Sam's had diarrhea for probably a couple of years now. I've taken him to the vets a couple of times and tried a bunch of stuff, and the only thing that's worked consistently has been using a supplement called Perfect Form. He hates it, but it's useful to bung him up and give him some relief when things get worse than usual.

What was the wet food the vet gave you? I've tried a bunch of different food for Sam, he gets excited about it for a few days, and then goes off it. It makes me crazy. I hate swapping his food around too much because then it will set his tummy off again, and then down the rabbit hole we go ...

Author:  Tempest [ Wed Nov 07, 2018 3:34 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: changing diet for old cat guts

The food from the vet is Hills Urgent Care a/d, and it's designed for cats who are underweight and/or recovering from something. It's a pate-type texture so it's easy to eat and digest. It's not cheap...I think it was $2.50 per 5.5 oz. can...but it's also not a long-term thing, just for a while if a cat needs a boost.

Eleanor highly recommends it. She ate a scoop of it for dinner on top of that snack I gave her when we got home from the vet. At dinner she tried to grab the spoon from me when I bent down to put it in her bowl. I will take her back to get her weighed again in a couple weeks, so I'm curious to see how she does.

No diarrhea since her return from the vet. She's been eating this wet-food crack with a few kibbles thrown in. So far, so good.

Author:  Herbaceous [ Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: changing diet for old cat guts

No advice from me, but sympathy from me for everyone who's feeding an older animal. When my Zoot got older, we had a heck of a time keeping weight on him. He was always a bit of a hard keeper and never particularly food motivated, but when he got older and sick (kidney issues and cancer), it got incredibly difficult to keep him at a decent weight. We had to try a bunch of things, but high-calorie kibble, high-calorie wet food, appetite stimulants, and subcutaneous fluids were all part of the equation.

The one thing that amazed me was that he did continue to eat a little right up to the end. All I fed him for the last week and a half of his life was tuna, and he had a little bit every day. I even caught him munching on kibbles at one point.

Hope everyone here manages to find a solution that works for everyone.

Author:  LadyPhoenix [ Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: changing diet for old cat guts

When my Zoot got older
Was he a bad, naughty, wicked, evil kitty who lit the grail shaped beacon and needed to be spanked? :)

Author:  CarryOn [ Thu Nov 08, 2018 2:09 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: changing diet for old cat guts

^^^ Yes, yes! The spanking! Me next!

...or something like that. :D

Author:  Tempest [ Thu Nov 08, 2018 10:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: changing diet for old cat guts

...or was it Zoot's identical twin sister, Dingo? :lol: :lol:

Anyway...Ellie seems to be doing a bit better. She has more energy. Her running-around years are behind her and I swear she sleeps 23.5 hours per day, but she's more alert, involved, and generally chipper in the 0.5 hours that she's not in couch mode. She's also started to put a little more meat on her bones. She loves that prescription food!!

Author:  Tempest [ Mon Nov 19, 2018 11:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: changing diet for old cat guts

Update for those who care to read about my cat's digestive system: she's doing great. She polished off all the prescription food, and then we switched her to Blue Buffalo chicken pate. It seems to do the trick. She eats every last bit. I've also noticed that with both the Hills prescription food and the Blue Buffalo she makes less of a mess when she eats. With other wet foods she'd leave more fallout around her bowl. Maybe the texture is easier to chew (she does not have all her teeth), or she likes it so much she picks up any she drops.

I took her to the vet today and she's gained back a little over a pound. He said she should be in the 8 to 9 pound range ideally, so we have a little more to go but she's nearly there. It's funny...those numbers seem low, but she doesn't have the muscle mass she used to. She was a long, broad, muscular cat when she was younger and generally weighed 11-12 pounds. Now she's still as long and isn't a small girl, but she's just bonier. Normal. Happens to us all when we get old.

Doc said to bring her in a few more weeks to check again. Hopefully we've got the fiber vs. meat ratio figured out.

Author:  CarryOn [ Tue Nov 20, 2018 5:05 am ]
Post subject:  Re: changing diet for old cat guts

Great news!

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