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diet and diarrhea... advice?

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Black Bart, Mar 29, 2011.


  1. Black Bart

    Black Bart PetForums Newbie

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    I hope someone can offer some advice... Black Bart has been with us about half a year. He was a stray and though we know he took care of himself (mice, garbage, whatever) for at least half a year, he was in amazingly good condition when he came to us. I started him out on whatever cat food was available nearby (Whiskas, etc) and he started having very bad diarrhea. At the vets they recommended that we put him for a short time on only cooked chicken and/or fish, then start him on Royal Canin "Sensitivity Control" (v. expensive!). We found that for the short time he was on just chicken and fish, he was actually not pooing enough and was a bit constipated - when he went on the special food it was straight back to diarrhea - loads of it, all the time. No different to being on Whiskas. So I went back to just chicken for a longer time and he was constipated again, but as time goes by his poos are getting softer and now he's having diarrhea again (he's still on just chicken), though far less of it than before. The strange thing is, he appears to be in very good condition - the perfect weight, shiny coat, clear eyes, great teeth... the only suspicious other things are that he acts like he's starving at all times and he pees WAY more than any cat I have ever known (thought he doesn't seem to actually drink a lot more than other cats). It has been suggested that stress has caused this, but it's been a while now since he moved in and he actually appears to be a pretty relaxed guy. I will go back to the vets, but they are very busy and sadly not that interested (I live in a rural place and there is not a lot of choice of vets). Thought I'd look here first to see if anybody can shed some light on this?
     
    #1 Black Bart, Mar 29, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  2. Vampyria

    Vampyria PetForums VIP

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    Welcome to pf! :D

    Firstly, good on you for taking him in - he sounds like a wonderful boy!

    The first question that springs to mind is: How quickly/slowly did you change the food over? Most cats will get a upset tummy if their food was suddenly switched to something different. Changing foods should be a slow process which should last one or two weeks by gradually mixing a tiny bit of new food in with the old, and then decreasing the old and increasing the new.

    However, it could be the food itself that is not agreeing with him.

    I am honestly not surprised your vet handed you Royal Canin :rolleyes: a lot of vets will push Royal Canin or Hill's as a lot of vets are funded by these two food giants. Many vets don't have a great deal of information about the dietary needs of cats sadly. It could be that Whiskas and RC are too full of cereals (had a look at the two "sensitive" RC foods I could find and found that "rice, maize flour, maize gluten" are all very high up on the list - yikes!) which is what is not agreeing with your boy. How long has he been on the chicken?

    EDIT: Just remembered. Do your vets stock any malt paste? Malt pastes like Pro Kolin help diarrhoea by helping promote healthy gut flora. I have heard a lot of cats also love the taste of this stuff! I think it can be given once or twice a day (hopefully someone will come along and clarify this!)

    You mention he acts like he's starving - this could be due to the diarrhoea and the fact he's not getting much out of his food (even chicken and fish are bland foods and in the long run do not offer a cat much nutrition), so he could well be hungry :) has this behaviour been like this since you got him? I have heard of some former strays wolfing down their food and acting hungry just because when they were living outside, they never knew when the next meal would be, and for some it takes quite some time for a cat to realise that the food put down for them is not suddenly going to go away :p

    Is he peeing in large quantities, or peeing in small quantities many times per day? The latter may suggest a UTI and will need immediate vet attention. If he is peeing in semi-large quantities a few times a day, I wouldn't worry. My cat also pees for England :p however, if you are worried then please get him to the vet.

    I shall suggest you look at these two very informative threads:
    http://www.petforums.co.uk/cat-health-nutrition/112132-z-wet-food-cats.html
    http://www.petforums.co.uk/cat-health-nutrition/116753-z-dry-food-cats.html
    A lot of the high quality foods can be bought online, but there are still some mid-range foods that offer a good meat content with no cereals/grain from places like Pets at Home. There are even some brands such as Grau (bought from zooplus) that only have one meat source in, which may be ideal if your boy just has a naturally sensitive tummy :)

    I hope all this text is helpful in some way :D
     
    #2 Vampyria, Mar 29, 2011
    Last edited: Mar 29, 2011
  3. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    Hiya Black Bart, welcome to the pf!

    I have very little to add to Vampyria's excellent post. To be honest, I am not at all surprised that he is reacting to "commercial" cat food when he has survived on prey and scraps while being a stray. Particularly since none of the foods you have tried so far are of great quality.

    How long has he been on the chicken diet now? Does he get anything else apart from chicken meat? I know that you are currently cooking the chicken. Would you consider feeding him some raw food to see whether that will help to settle his stomach? That way you could see whether he will eat some raw chicken wing - to get some bone = i.e. calcium into his system. You could also see whether he will eat a tiny bit of offal (should only be a small part of his diet - i,e, 10% of his meal).

    If this is a route that you would consider going down then there are a couple of commercial providers of raw food for pets that give you the food in the right ratios (meat, bone and offal) to make sure that your little man gets all the nutrients he needs. Currently the chicken is a bit one-sided and it typically is some raw bone (never cooked) that firms stool up.

    When you say that chicken initially made him constipated. What do you mean by that? Did he strain to poop or did he just not poop very often. Raw feed cats (and also cats on a cooked diet) don't poop very often. Some as little as once every 2 or 3 or so days. Their poop is also considerably smaller - one of the advantages of raw feeding.

    Did the vet do a stool test to rule out any parasites?
     
  4. Black Bart

    Black Bart PetForums Newbie

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    Thaks Vampyria!

    I think that your answer is going to be very useful... I will look for the ProKolin. To be honest I have not been very subtle in changing foods; I've just changed them straight away. I do not think he has not got a UTI - big pees, no distress about them, no blood, always in the litterbox. So I will stop worrying about that. Hopefully the other threads you referred me to will have some good suggestions about what brands might be easier on Bart and keep him more satisfied. Although, what you say about the "starvation mentality" is probably true too - he's not so interested in going outside either, seems to think that inside is a pretty good place to stay after being out for such a long time!

    p.s. His name was going to be Nosferatu due to all the mysterious creeping along in the dark but turns out there is not a sinister bone in his body, hence "Black Bart the Gentleman Outlaw"!
     
  5. Black Bart

    Black Bart PetForums Newbie

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    Hi Hobbs,

    I am actually interested in the raw diet, as it seems to make sense. I did feed him one wing or leg or something raw before I cooked the rest of it and he did seem to like it, but friends here were a bit shocked that I'd tried it, worried about salmonella. Also, as a vegetarian for a very long time I am a bit stupid about how to store raw meat for a while given that I can not get to the shops to buy it that often! I wonder if I should try some of these comercailly prepared raw diets you mentioned?

    When I say constipated I guess I DO mean only every few days, as all the other cats I've lived with did one or two a day (and seemed healthy enough in this respect) .. But it's also the size and quantity of each poo - small and a lot harder than might seem comfortable!

    Strangely, the vet did NOT take a sample - part of the reason I feel that they are perhaps a bit overworked and not terribly invested in this individual case. I suppose I will have to go back to them really about Bart, but my recent experiences (interesting stories but a separate issue really) with the two vet clinics in the area have sadly felt a little like a waste of time... It seems to me safe to try out some of this advice first, especially as Bart does not seem to be suffering at all...

    Thanks again!

    p.s. This round he's been on the cooked chicken - only - for about a week and a half or so.
     
  6. hobbs2004

    hobbs2004 PetForums VIP

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    So you didn't see him strain when he pooped? There are some pics somewhere here of the poop of a raw fed cat. The output is very small - some call them little black pearls- and very hard. This is largely because cats utilise the nutrients so much better so there is less to output. My raw fed cats only poop about once every couple of days or once every three days. The added bonus is that the poop doesn't smell :D So, sounds as though he wasn't actually constipated.

    Salmonella is really only an issue for us humans - the feline digestive system has been designed to deal with any bacteria more efficiently than ours (being shorter and letting things pass through more quickly giving the bacteria less chance to proliferate) and for cats that are immune suppressed perhaps. So, just wash your hands after handling the meat, bone etc, keep his eating area and plate clean with hot soapy water and wash your hands after cleaning the litter tray.

    Perhaps try a wing again or some chicken neck - drumsticks etc are too big.

    Do you have any freezer space? If you don't currently have a freezer or enough space, would you have some space for one? That makes raw feeding not only easier but also cheaper.

    There is one company called Darlings Real Dog Food who also make minces for cats. They use organic and/or free range meats and 1 kilo of minces come in at about £6. However, a grown cat only needs to eat about 2-3% of their body weight in raw (for a 4kg cat that is about 120g of raw a day), so that means that you actually only pay 75p a day to feed your cat these raw minces. They do an intro offer of 3 kilo of minces inc delivery for £15.

    Once you feel more comfortable and have read up on this type of feeding a little, then you can also venture into the world of whole prey feeding - e.g. frozen mice, rats, one day chicks etc.
     
  7. Black Bart

    Black Bart PetForums Newbie

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    Hobbs - that is fantastic! I am very glad I tried this forum! I really wondered how it was Bart could be constipated yet seem so... fine. What I think I will do is try some of the good commercial foods you ahve suggested initially (I am going away for a month and I know that my husband will be somewhat less attentive to Bart and his poo than I am!) and afterwards if all goes well will try some of the other stuff you have suggested.

    Thanks very much once again!
     
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