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IC, intestinal troubles--would a natural/raw diet help?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
My cat Gwenny has interstitial cystitis and a history of intestinal problems that only have been rectified by a very high fiber diet. She had been on Eukuba Indoor dry, which was the only thing that worked well for her. Because of the IC problem I switched her, over a month's time, to Wellness Indoor Dry and wet. During the next two months she appeared to be doing better bladder-wise, but her intestinal problems never got better. She had runny, loose stool, with lots of forcefully ejected gas and stool. She also developed scabs on her neck, indicating a possible allergy. The vet told me it was better to treat her intestinal problems, so I put her back on a high fiber diet--Science Diet Hairball wet and dry--but now the bladder problems are back (peeing outside the box). I have been trying to add more wet food, but every wet food I have tried has given her intestinal problems. I supplement the wet food with enzymes, probiotics and Cosequin. Even with a high fiber wet food, supplemented with psyllium (she won't eat pumpkin), she still has the very loose stools. I have been thinking of trying some of the more natural (Evo, Orijen etc) or raw diets. I am afraid of how she will react intestinally to this type of diet, which would be very low in fiber. Maybe that is what she needs. Does anyone have experience with this type of problem?
post #2 of 21
Given her intestinal problems I would make sure to stick to limited ingredient foods. By that I mean foods with very short, simple ingredient lists. And no fruits or veggies. California Natural Chk and Rice dry is one. EVO and Orijen are both have complex formulas and contain fruits and veggies.

Have you tried Eukanuba Hairball Formula? Others with loose stool problems have reported success with it. It has a pretty simple ingredient list...
post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks for your reply. Yes, I have used both Eukanuba Hairball and Indoor--both worked well for her. I didn't put her back on that because I figured something in it was irritating her bladder, so wanted to try some other high fiber dry and see how she did on that. One high fiber dry I was thinking of trying is Blue Buffalo Weight Control, which is high in fiber, gluten-free and has cranberries for the IC--I'm thinking it's a better high fiber choice over Science Diet. After reading all the potential dangers of feeding dry, I was thinking about the more natural diets and how they would work for her. I really don't know which way to go next.
post #4 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwenny&lunasmom View Post
Thanks for your reply. Yes, I have used both Eukanuba Hairball and Indoor--both worked well for her. I didn't put her back on that because I figured something in it was irritating her bladder, so wanted to try some other high fiber dry and see how she did on that. One high fiber dry I was thinking of trying is Blue Buffalo Weight Control, which is high in fiber, gluten-free and has cranberries for the IC--I'm thinking it's a better high fiber choice over Science Diet. After reading all the potential dangers of feeding dry, I was thinking about the more natural diets and how they would work for her. I really don't know which way to go next.
it has lots of grain ( ie grains and cats dont always like one another)... there are grain frees like Raw instict and Seregeti that are FAIRLY basic ... count up the grains and then the meats , one to one ratio is best

Califonia natural , Natural choice, Sensible choice are all BASIC limited ingrediants that are usually easy to find
post #5 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwenny&lunasmom View Post
Thanks for your reply. Yes, I have used both Eukanuba Hairball and Indoor--both worked well for her. I didn't put her back on that because I figured something in it was irritating her bladder, so wanted to try some other high fiber dry and see how she did on that. One high fiber dry I was thinking of trying is Blue Buffalo Weight Control, which is high in fiber, gluten-free and has cranberries for the IC--I'm thinking it's a better high fiber choice over Science Diet. After reading all the potential dangers of feeding dry, I was thinking about the more natural diets and how they would work for her. I really don't know which way to go next.
I'm not sure what you mean by "natural diets". The only truly natural diet for a cat would be raw. Others have reported that a raw diet does indeed "cure" persistent diarrhea. If you decide to try that I would still say to stay away from the ones that include fruits and veggies. Those ingredients are *not* natural to a cats diet and can be difficult for them to digest.

I've heard of people mixing a prescription food meant to prevent crystals with other foods. Maybe you could mix a food good for the IC with the Eukanuba?
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks again mschauer and sharky for the suggestions. I just can't decide what direction to go in. I was thinking of either going back to the Eukanuba, back to the Wellness or some other brand with cranberrries, a limited ingredient diet, something like Orijen with higher protein, or even raw. Almost all of the choices are low in fiber. I just don't think they will work for her. One thought I had was to somehow add psyllium to the dry food. Has anyone done this? I might try mschauer's idea of combining Eukanuba with an IC food--that sounds like a reasonable strategy. Or, as both of you suggested, a limited ingredient diet, although I haven't found any acceptable ones locally. Then again, there is the fiber issue. She does not react well to changes in her diet, so I hate to keep changing things on her. I am conflicted as to what to try next.

Thanks again for your much appreciated advice.
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwenny&lunasmom View Post
Thanks again mschauer and sharky for the suggestions. I just can't decide what direction to go in. I was thinking of either going back to the Eukanuba, back to the Wellness or some other brand with cranberrries, a limited ingredient diet, something like Orijen with higher protein, or even raw. Almost all of the choices are low in fiber. I just don't think they will work for her. One thought I had was to somehow add psyllium to the dry food. Has anyone done this? I might try mschauer's idea of combining Eukanuba with an IC food--that sounds like a reasonable strategy. Or, as both of you suggested, a limited ingredient diet, although I haven't found any acceptable ones locally. Then again, there is the fiber issue. She does not react well to changes in her diet, so I hate to keep changing things on her. I am conflicted as to what to try next.

Thanks again for your much appreciated advice.
You're more than welcome. I hope you find a solution to your problem soon.

If you are sure fiber is the key to helping her digestion problem, the adding psyllium to her IC food sounds like a good idea to me. I haven't tried it myself but I have heard others recommend it.

Food issues are tough. They take time, patience and an organized strategy. Hang in there. If you are persistent, I'm sure you'll find a solution.

Keep us updated. I'd like to know if the psyllium helps if you decide to try it.

PS - I can't say I know anything for sure but I've heard that the small amount of cranberry contained in some foods isn't enough to help prevent crystal formation. Does anyone else know anything about this?
post #8 of 21
true most of the cranberries arent enough... look for cranberry powder as it is a concetrate ...
post #9 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
true most of the cranberries arent enough... look for cranberry powder as it is a concetrate ...
Have you ever used cranberry powder? I tried it once and they wouldn't eat the food. I tasted it (the powder, not the food) and it was *very* bitter. I don't blame them for not eating it.

Also, if I understand, all cranberry supposedly does is help prevent UTI by preventing bacteria from attaching to the intestine walls. It does help prevent crystals.
post #10 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mschauer View Post
Have you ever used cranberry powder? I tried it once and they wouldn't eat the food. I tasted it (the powder, not the food) and it was *very* bitter. I don't blame them for not eating it.

Also, if I understand, all cranberry supposedly does is help prevent UTI by preventing bacteria from attaching to the intestine walls. It does help prevent crystals.
opps clarify in the food
post #11 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
opps clarify in the food
I have no idea what this means???
post #12 of 21
I just saw an error in my last post. I meant that cranberry is *not* claimed to prevent crystals.
post #13 of 21
Has your vet done tests to make sure your cat doesn't have actual STONES in the bladder?

I would also avoid a raw diet in an animal who is prone to infections. Raw diets have been shown to increase fecal shedding of bacteria which could increase your kitties exposure to additional potential urinary tract pathogens.
post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks again for the replies. I have tried the CatBerry cranberry paste and treats--they wanted nothing to do with them. I will look into the cranberry powder but it sounds like it would cause the same reaction. BTW, one vet told me that cranberry doesn't do a thing for bladder problems in cats.

I have decided I will try a limited ingredient diet and see how that goes. Hopefully that will help if her bladder and intestinal problems are from an allergy/sensitivity. Today I found some Natural Balance Pea and Duck dry and Venison and Pea canned at the new Petco that just opened last week. None of the local stores stocked it and I tried to order some a few months ago but they told me they couldn't get it. I am hopeful that this will help. I will not worry about the fiber problem for now, unless her reaction is really horrible.

Gwenny had an ultrasound in the fall and that is what prompted all of these changes. She has had a few UTIs. She has blood in her urine but no crystals. No stones in the bladder but there is some kidney damage, probably from an earlier UTI. I thought maybe she had IBD but there was no thickening of the intestinal walls. So I don't know why she has all the intestinal problems, but I am hoping the limited diet will help.

Thanks Misskiwi67 for the heads up on a raw diet and infection--good to know.

Thanks again everyone for your advice.
post #15 of 21
How exactly are you treating the IC? I think you have said that the only treatment she is getting for it is certain foods. Can IC really be treated with just food??? Why are the Wellness foods supposed to be good for IC?

I know you said you have tried probiotics and enzymes for the digestive problem but not all such supplements are equal in quality or content. Since your vet hasn't been able to determine a cause I wonder if trying a different supplement might be worthwhile. My Coco had chronic diarrhea for the first 1 1/2 of her life. Adding Eagle Pack Holistic Solution to every meal cleared it up within days. She has had perfect stools for the lasr 6+ months.

Which reminds me, I never asked how long she has had the diarrhea? Was it triggered by an illness?

I'm not sure using a high fiber diet to treat the diarrhea is a good plan long term. My understanding is that diarrhea is a result of poorly digested food. If her food isn't being properly digested, she isn't getting the nutrients from it that she needs. I think all adding fiber does is bind the waste together to make it come out more solid. It doesn't help with digestion and nutrient absorption. Maybe you could run this by your vet?
post #16 of 21
From personal experience I can say that I have a kitty with a few health issues, tried a raw diet and it could very well have nearly killed her. So obviously now I can't in good conscience recommend that to another owner.

However, pending test results, she may have to go on a homecooked diet, which I would be willing to do. BUT, I will have a full work up done by a holistic vet that is aware of all of her "issues" and he will formulate the diet for me, including any and all supplements needed. That way, I pretty much just have to follow the recipe.

So, if you think raw/homecooked is the way to go, I would most definitely do it under strict veterinary supervision.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks mschauer for recommending the Eagle Pack Holistic Solution. I will look for it--it sounds better than what I am giving her.

Gwenny has had intestinal problems since I got her when she was about 1 1/2 years old (she's about 6 years old now). Once I hit on the Eukanuba Hariball/Indoor, she was fine. She had a couple of bad bouts of diarrhea, but that was due to giardia. I had her tested for parasites a few months ago but she was fine. Maybe I should do it again, just to be sure.

As far as treatment for the IC, I am ashamed to admit that the vet wants me to put her on Amitriptyline, but I have been stalling. Gwenny is a very skittish and ill tempered cat and I dread having to give her medication. The last time I had to give her meds, she became very wary of me and hid at pill time. I was hoping I could help lessen the IC problem by using Cosequin, cranberry and Feliway, before I started the med. I only used the Wellness products because that was the first thing I found with cranberry. I guess I am running out of excuses, but I am just dreading pilling her. I am saving up the gelcaps from the Cosequin and will try that approach, when the time comes. Has anyone had experience with compounded Amitriptyline, which gets put on the ear? I have heard that it is not effective given in that manner. Excuses, excuses! So, go ahead and chew me out for stalling on the medication--I guess I deserve it.

Thanks Kiwi Kat for the input on raw/cooked diet.
post #18 of 21
I don't like pilling either. I've had great success using Pill Pockets. They are soft, treat like things that you can stuff the pill into. When the cat gobbles up the "treat" they gobble up the pill also. Since cats don't chew their food much, especially soft food, it works well. None of my guys consider them treats though and won't eat them by themselves. What I do is I put the pill inside, pinch off as much of the PP stuff as I can, leaving just enough so the pill is covered and so that it can be rolled into a ball. Then I hide it in their wet food. They gobble it up without even noticing. Rolling it into a ball makes it good down easily and the PP are a liittle oily, also making them go down easily.

This works best if the pill isn't terribly big. You might be able to break a large pill in two and use two PPs.

From what I read IC really requires meds to clear it up. It's an inflammation of the bowels.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
I have used Pill Pockets on Gwenny before and they worked great, but this last time she wouldn't touch them. I could give it another try, but the Amitriptyline is very bitter and I am afraid the taste will come through. I could try your suggestion of rolling it and placing it with her other food. I am steeling myself for going ahead with the medication. Thanks for not chewing me out!
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by gwenny&lunasmom View Post
Thanks for not chewing me out!
Oh, you did a pretty good job of that yourself!

Please give us updates on Gwenny's progress so others can learn from your experience.

I hope she gets better quickly!
post #21 of 21
As long as you don't show a lot of anxiety about it (she'll pick up on that) eventually she'll get used to it. Kiwi has had to take various meds and now she'll come over to me, I pop her mouth open, make sure pill is at the very back, squirt some water in with a syringe and all done. Takes only a few seconds.

Good luck!
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