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Is my little demon stressed or constipated?

Discussion in 'Cat Health and Nutrition' started by Beertje, Sep 23, 2020.


  1. Beertje

    Beertje PetForums Newbie

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    We are currently looking into changing our neutered 6 year old male cat's diet due to several issues we've had with him over the last couple of years since we adopted him when he was 4.

    When we got him he was sterilised but not chipped, he came with wet food and toys. In the coming months since we got him we wanted to give him the best possible nutrients in food etc., so we got him the dry Wellness Core Chicken, but about a year later his issues started with struvite crystals (likely from the Wellness Core food being high in pH?), so the vet advised Urinary special food, either Royal Canin or Pets Hills, we chose Hills C/D Multicare - so we got the dry food as we have an automatic feeder, dry food is also the most convenient for us.

    While the crystals were disappearing from being on the new food, the vet also prescribed Meloxidyl to reduce inflammation. Though later on due to the new low quality (?) dry food he started to have digestive issues (really hard stools which he couldn't pass easily) - likely related to the anti-inflammatory medication and new dry food, so the vet prescribed laxatives and antibiotics which stressed him out greatly.

    He has consistently demonstrated a variety of symptoms over the last couple of years, such as a rippling back and excessive grooming of his back legs, tail and anus/groin area, which is why we got a cat behavioural therapist in to determine whether his issues are due to stress or not. She observed him for several hours and came to the conclusion that he is not a stressed cat. The issues appear to be internal.

    The therapist recommended making some changes to the litter and his diet, in the past couple of weeks we swapped the Hills Urinary C/D Multicare for Urinary C/D Stress hoping to calm him down and so we've been giving him the following:
    • 14g Hills Urinary C/D Multicare (dry with some water) in the morning to finish it off
    • 1 x 85g sachet of Hills Urinary Stress C/D at lunch with added water
    • 1 x 85g sachet of Hills Urinary Stress C/D in the evening with added water
    (Likely we need to increase the food dosage, but according to the vet he also needs to loose 400g.)

    After doing some research and asking around, many cat owners have had great success with Royal Canin's veterinary range, and so we would like some guidance on which food to give him (ideally wet food) considering our cat's susceptibility to struvite crystals and digestive bowel issues as well as stress(?).
    • Do you recommend a Urinary product, or as long as it's S/O we could use the Digestive or Gastrointestinal Fiber Response, Calm etc.?
    • Can we combine food such a urinary product with another product which is for example high in fibre/protein or calming and get the best of all worlds?
    • Could his fits/agitation/stress be a result of:
      • Stress
      • Constipation
      • Osteoporosis
      • Arthritis
    • Or based on the above, we need to look at something completely different?
    Sorry for the long story!
     
  2. Beertje

    Beertje PetForums Newbie

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    Video of him having a fit/stress/agitation:

     
  3. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    Hello @Beertje and welcome :)

    Thank you for the video clip, it is very helpful. It looks to me as though he is very itchy, probably due to food allergies and food intolerances. One of my cats who has food allergies behaves the same way when she is itchy.

    Before I watched your video I wondered if he might have a condition called Feline Hyperesthesia Syndrome (FHS) which causes a rippling back. One of my previous cats was diagnosed with this although even in his case he was much better when I identified his food intolerances and changed his diet.

    My advice would be to take your cat off all the dry food. Dry food is bad news for a cat who has had bladder crystals as it is too high in carbs, veggies etc and thus too alkaline. He needs a diet high in meat protein which will keep his urine acidic as nature intends for his species.

    Research has shown that a cat on dry food who drinks water does not ingest as many fluids as a cat fed a wet food diet who does not drink water. A cat who has had bladder problems needs a high intake of fluids, to increase the volume of his urine and make it more dilute, so that he will urinate more often and his bladder will get flushed through regularly.

    The Royal Canin Urinary S/O wet food is quite good for cats who have had a bladder problem e.g. struvite crystals, but maybe not so good for a cat who has digestive issues. However you may find his digestive system copes much better with the wet version than the dry as the wet RC Urinary S/O is lower in carbs than the dry and does not contain as many additives as the dry.

    However the wet version of RC Urinary S/O does contain grains which may cause food intolerance. It also contains fish oil and soya oil, either of which might cause a food intolerance, and fructo-oligo-saccharides which cause disruption to the bowel e.g. flatulence and discomfort. However the animal protein in it is hydrolised which can help in some cases to eliminate the kind of food allergies that cause itching.

    Ingredients of RC Urinary S/O Moderate Calorie : ---

    "Dehydrated poultry protein, rice, wheat gluten*, corn flour, lignocellulose, corn gluten, minerals, animal fats, hydrolysed animal proteins, fish oil, soya oil, fructo-oligo-saccharides, dried egg, hydrolysed crustaceans (source of glucosamine), marigold extract (source of lutein)."


    If it was my cat I would feed a good quality, grain free, high meat protein diet suitable for his digestive issues and add a supplement to it for his bladder health. A supplement such as Cystaid Plus or Cystease.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/VetPlus-Cystaid-Plus-Cats-Sprinkle/dp/B08D3BGCGC/ref=sr_1_2?crid=EB003OJ3CGUK&dchild=1&keywords=cystaid+plus+for+cats+pack+30+sprinkle+capsules&qid=1600876425&sprefix=cystaid+capsules+for+cats,aps,145&sr=8-2

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Feliway-D79310B-FELIWAY-Cystease-Capsules/dp/B00BWTP7QA/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=2A0XDL1N6YBSC&dchild=1&keywords=cystease+capsules+for+cats&qid=1600876393&sprefix=cystease+,aps,175&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUFVNklXR1FGM0ZFNTUmZW5jcnlwdGVkSWQ9QTA0ODEyNjYyUEw5UDhQSUg2SFpSJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTAxNDE0ODFGSVRZTkpQTTJLV0Umd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl

    Foods suitable for a cat with a sensitive digestion would be a variety of high meat proteins -
    e.g.

    From Zooplus.co.uk

    Animonda Vom Feinsten for neutered cats Pure Turkey or Turkey & Salmon

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/canned_cat_food_pouches/animonda/trays/523945

    Leonardo Pure Chicken (one of my cats who has IBD and Diabetes does very well on this as his main food)

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/canned_cat_food_pouches/leonardo/wet_food/478465

    Miamor Mild Meals

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/canned_cat_food_pouches/miamor/miamor_trays/42061


    Wet foods sold in UK pet stores I would consider would be the Seriously Good range of pouches or tins from Pets at Home,

    https://www.petsathome.com/shop/en/...istro-chicken-breast-adult-cat-food-pouch-70g

    Sainsbury's Delicious Chicken is similar,

    or Thrive Complete.

    But I wouldn't feed him only Chicken as from his itchiness it seems likely he has food allergies. So he needs a wider variety of meats. Turkey I have mentioned above, but you can also widen the variety by giving him some home cooked meats as well e.g. chunked leg of lamb, pork chunks, beef chunks all of which can be bought from supermarkets. They can be cooked in a slow cooker with water added to make the gravy broth, or in the oven as a casserole or pot roast.

    He can have up to 15% of his diet as home cooked meat without adding a supplement. If you want to feed him more than 15% you can add a supplement called a 'completer' which is suitable for adding to cooked meat. The one I use is Felini Complete which contains no ingredients sourced from animals or vegetables, so less chance of allergies. But there are other makes too.

    https://www.zooplus.co.uk/shop/cats/supplements_specialty_cat_food/vitamins/155860

    Introduce any new foods slowly, a teaspoonful at a time, and no more than one new food every 3 weeks.

    You mentioned constipation. He is much less likely to suffer from this on a wet food diet with no dry food. Is he straining in the litter tray? How often does he poo? Are they thin hard dry stools?
     
    #3 chillminx, Sep 23, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2020
    gskinner123 and Beertje like this.
  4. Beertje

    Beertje PetForums Newbie

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    Thank you so much for the effort and time on your detailed reply. We really appreciate it.

    We also thought FHS but the vet told us chances are slim due to its rarity. The vet also told us that we should give him dry food as wet food is best given when the cat is sick so as to eat/take medicine, otherwise he will get used to wet food and when/if he is sick he will not eat anything... Anyhow.

    I am so annoyed because I wished we knew this information (potential allergy, concentration of acidity leading to SC, etc.) earlier or that there is/was an easier more straightforward way of finding these stuff out. Frustratingly what I thought that Wellness Core Chicken was a good source of protein (according to my research from catfooddb), it could have likely caused him to develop allergies and crystals.

    Furthermore what you mentioned about adding supplements to it for his bladder health, I asked our vet the very same thing, combining a high quality food with something for the bladder (like 50/50 mix of two different foods) but apparently that diminishes the effects of the urinary food so it was no good. There was no mention of these supplements which do the same thing.

    Thank you very much for the links, you mention a varied diet and that food should be introduced slowly - that is clear. What we did is we cold turkey him into the Hills Urinary food from Wellness Core when we found out about the crystals, then constipation developed due to likely the bad quality of food it is (never had this problem while on Wellness Core dry, Ocean and Chicken/Turkey). The vet advised to introduce water into his dry food so as to make digestion easier, though this doesn't change the fact that food quality is rubbish!

    Regarding constipation, he now goes once every 36 hours or so compared to daily before, unsure if it's the stress from introducing the wet food or what, really baffled (though it is same brand type Hills Urinary, only change from C/D Urinary Multicare to C/D Urinary Stress). When he goes, it is hard, thickness like the Rolo chocolates, sometimes all together like a cigar, sometimes in rolls of 3. Though because of the constipation he tends to occasionally "scoot" on the floor

    Can you please help clarify, when you mention a variety of meats but to introduce food slowly, if we buy a variety pack of different flavours/meat type, would we have to do this for each and every meat/flavour type from the same brand or only if its from different brands?

    Thank you very much for your time and advice!
     
    chillminx likes this.
  5. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Beertje -

    With all due respect to your vet I think he reveals he is probably not a "cat person" with his comment about wet food and dry food. The fact is cats are creatures of habit when it comes to their food (and other aspects of their lives) but they are hard wired to like a certain amount of variety in their diets.

    Dry food is very strong smelling to a cat; it's scented with a strong flavouring called Animal Digest. This is used to coat the dry food once it has finished the manufacturing process. Animal Digest has very little, if any, nutritional value, it is only a flavouring. Without it the dry food would be un appealing to a cat and they would not eat it.

    Many cats fed a dry food diet become obsessed with it and will not touch wet food. If they become ill and need a food to hide their medicine in, there is a strong likelihood they will refuse to eat any wet food at all.

    If on the other hand, the cat is always fed a wet food diet, when the cat becomes unwell, the likelihood is they will continue to eat wet food (although maybe a different wet food to the ones they have been used to) and then their medicine can be hidden in the food if necessary.

    In conclusion, many cats fed a dry food diet become far more faddy than cats fed a wet food diet.

    Incidentally manufacturers of dry food do not recommend adding water to it. This is because dry food (unlike wet food) is not sterile. It contains bacteria and fungus which can become activated when the kibble becomes damp This would not matter if the damp food was all eaten straight away but not good if the cat is a "grazer" who takes several hours to finish a bowl of food.

    I agree, I don't think your cat has FHS. The movements he makes are not quite right for FHS, and IMO are much more indicative of itchiness. Having had a cat with FHS and one with severe food allergies I can see the subtle differences.

    Pooing every 36 hours when he used to go daily does sound as though it may be due to a change in diet. Likewise the very hard stools. The scooting of his bottom may be because his anal glands are not emptying as they should every time he poos. Stools do need to be firm to put the right amount of pressure in the anal glands to empty them during defecation. But if they are too hard or too soft the pressure is not right and the glands do not empty as they should.

    if you are buying a variety pack of meats it would ideally be best to introduce only one meat protein at a time, so as to get an idea as to what he may be allergic. On the other hand it can sometimes work to feed a different meat protein every day from the same make of food. i.e. to have about 4 or 5 different protein foods and feed them in rotation. I can give you links to foods that make single protein wet foods in a variety of flavours e.g. lamb, turkey, chicken, horsemeat, beef,.

    Also you may find it helpful to read the pinned thread on these boards on "Elimination Diets" using a novel protein for 8 weeks. That is how I have identified food allergies in 2 of my cats..

    https://www.petforums.co.uk/threads/elimination-diets.509821/
     
    Beertje likes this.
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