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Food for a cat with severe allergies

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 
I'm not sure what she's allergic to specifically, I've tried to narrow it down with little luck.

She's been the vet numerous times, on steroids, antibiotics, creams, etc with no affect. So I've been waging the battle at home with limited success. She's had allergies all her life and it's getting noticeably worse as she gets older. She licks herself bald, mainly her stomach but has progressed to her backlegs and sides. Wellness Core gave her a giant swollen bottom lip, which went away very quickly after switching her to Natural Balance. She also gets an itchy scabby rash down her back and sides if she's eating food that really doesn't agree with her (like right now). She also vomits up food almost daily, and isn't a gulper. Her poop and pee are perfectly normal. She drinks bottled water out of a glass. She's an active, happy, playful cat that doesn't act her age.

She's 13 years old. I've tried her on every brand of food the pet store in my town offers over the years, from the cheap to the expensive. The food she did best on was Natural Balance Venison and Green Pea, which is no longer made. She doesn't like the NB Duck and Green Pea and will barely eat it (and she's not a fussy cat at all).

I'm heading out in the next couple hours out of town to try and find her a food for allergy cats. I'm thinking of either Pinnacle or California Natural. She seems to do better on grain-free, but still not perfect. Apparently doesn't like duck, and the Wellness Core was the first time I've given her a food with fish in it, and apparently it didn't agree with her.

Which do you think would be better, or do you have any other suggestions?
post #2 of 29
Ordinarily I would say California Natural is good, but they've been changing their formulas so read the label very carefully! Are there any other grain-free foods that you've tried other than the CORE? Which food brands or ingredients have you tried that you know she cannot have? Is it all fish that disagrees with her, or any specific types?
post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 
For grain free foods I've tried the Core, Natural Balance Duck and Potato, Serenghetti. I think there's one other, but I've tried so many different foods I can't remember. I avoided Evo as several people I know with cats had diarrhea problems with it.

I'm not sure about which protein sources bother her, as sometimes she can eat one chicken food for example, but in another chicken-based food she'll vomit, so I think it's other ingredients or processing that are bothering her. I try to avoid corn/wheat/soy in all my pet food. And fish for my cats.

I recently read on here about the use of alfalfa in cat food and it's link to allergies, so I'm curious if that may be something that is bothering her.

I feel bad for her. She spends most of her day licking and chewing at herself. I would really like to find a food that she can do well on. I was thinking of adding The Missing Link to her food as well, as I know several dogs that have done well on the K9 formula.

I've thought about making her food myself, but worry that I wouldn't do it right. And she won't eat raw.
post #4 of 29
will she eat canned??
post #5 of 29
Serengeti also contains alfalfa.

You said she did well on a venison formula and Taste of the Wild has a grain-free [and alfalfa free] food with venison but also contains fish, so if you know fish bothers her that is not an option.
post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Yes, she eats canned happily. She did fairly well (i.e no vomiting or rash but still compulsive licking) on the Pro Plan chicken and liver pate, but I switched her to Eagle Pack holistic duck and she was throwing it up. So I switched her back to the Pro Plan. I would actually prefer to feed her ONLY canned with no dry, if I can find something that agrees with her.

I've had a few people suggest a homemade elimination diet for her, to determine what her intollerances and allergies are, and I think that might be a good idea. Once I know her certain, I can go from there, correct?

What are some meat and carb sources that are usually 'safe' for cats? I had turkey and oatmeal suggested initially. I don't have anywhere to get 'game' type meat I don't believe. I kind of live in the middle of nowhere.
post #7 of 29
Do you have a vet that listens??? and is willing to help with something like a homemade diet??

common
egg and potato

chn and rice

beef and potato

sweet potatos can be used
post #8 of 29
You really need to talk to your vet and have them come up with a diet plan for this allergy experiment if you're going to do home cooked. You can't just feed a protein and a grain and have them be healthy long term as those don't contain all the vitamins, etc. they need nor do they contain any taurine.
post #9 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteforest View Post
You really need to talk to your vet and have them come up with a diet plan for this allergy experiment if you're going to do home cooked. You can't just feed a protein and a grain and have them be healthy long term as those don't contain all the vitamins, etc. they need nor do they contain any taurine.
good pt I glossed over
post #10 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
Do you have a vet that listens??? and is willing to help with something like a homemade diet??

common
egg and potato

chn and rice

beef and potato

sweet potatos can be used

Not really. My *awesome* vet quit and moved several hours away. I don't overly care for the vet they have now. I'm in the market, I guess.

The elimination diet is generally only for 4 weeks or so. If taurine is a concern perhaps it could be purchased from a health store and added?
post #11 of 29
What about feeding raw? I know alot of vets aren't "into" raw feeding, but it really helped my friends cat with her allergies. She dealt with her vet for close to three years changing her cats diet around before trying raw. Her vet wasn't too happy about her doing it in the beginning, but he can't argue with the great results that her kitty had with raw. If you google *raw diet for cats* tons of different links come up with info.
post #12 of 29
Homemade Is best done under a vets care... MOST elimination diets are for 8-12 weeks... Yes taurine can be gotten at a store ( note most are chinese imports for those worried about such) ... but other things need to be added ...
post #13 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bijou's Mom View Post
What about feeding raw? I know alot of vets aren't "into" raw feeding, but it really helped my friends cat with her allergies. She dealt with her vet for close to three years changing her cats diet around before trying raw. Her vet wasn't too happy about her doing it in the beginning, but he can't argue with the great results that her kitty had with raw. If you google *raw diet for cats* tons of different links come up with info.

I've tried raw in the past with her and she wasn't interested. However, I am a big fan of the raw diet, and if I could get her to eat it, I would be very happy (and hopefully she would be too!)
post #14 of 29
A taurine deficiency can cause all sorts of problems, like cardiomyopathy, eye lesions, etc. Even veterinarians typically have to consult veterinary nutrition specialists when a client asks for a specialized diet because the balance of nutrients needs to be just so. I think it's imperative that you consult your vet before experimenting with anything on your own. Did you have a good relationship with your previous vet? Maybe you could still give them a call and ask their opinion on what your current vet recommends.
post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
Homemade Is best done under a vets care... MOST elimination diets are for 8-12 weeks... Yes taurine can be gotten at a store ( note most are chinese imports for those worried about such) ... but other things need to be added ...

Actually, I think I read in the paper that a new young woman vet was just hired in the town next to mine. I'll have to call and ask about her views on home diets, raw, vaccinations, etc and see what she's like. Hopefully she's very knowledgeable and open minded. That would be fabulous!

The vet I deal with now would just stick her on a Hills prescription diet, and when that didn't work, say oh well, it's just the way she is. He's not a good vet, imho.
post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteforest View Post
A taurine deficiency can cause all sorts of problems, like cardiomyopathy, eye lesions, etc. Even veterinarians typically have to consult veterinary nutrition specialists when a client asks for a specialized diet because the balance of nutrients needs to be just so. I think it's imperative that you consult your vet before experimenting with anything on your own. Did you have a good relationship with your previous vet? Maybe you could still give them a call and ask their opinion on what your current vet recommends.

That's pretty scary. I'm used to dealing with my dogs, where taurine isn't an issue.
post #17 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gomer View Post
The vet I deal with now would just stick her on a Hills prescription diet, and when that didn't work, say oh well, it's just the way she is. He's not a good vet, imho.
I am living 5 hours from my hometown right now, and whenever our cats go to the vet for anything I drive aalllllll way home to take them. I love my vets there, and we've have a bad experience with a few vets where we are living now. So I know how you feel!
post #18 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteforest View Post
I am living 5 hours from my hometown right now, and whenever our cats go to the vet for anything I drive aalllllll way home to take them. I love my vets there, and we've have a bad experience with a few vets where we are living now. So I know how you feel!

That's very impressive! Five hours, wow. The clinic I deal with seems to go through vets quite often, but the one I liked was there for several years. My rescue dog was going through heartworm treatment when the vet just left one day, no warning. I heard he had a fight with the clinic owner. The vet who finished my dog's treatment (and the only other vet they had at the time) was still a student, but I couldn't move my dog to another vet as she was in intensive care at the time from a reaction to treatment.

That was very scary, but thankfully she's fine. It seems pretty hard to find good vets. Around here at least.
post #19 of 29
Agreed! A lot of them don't seem to care so much. My vets are a husband and wife in their late 20's/early 30's. They always go way out of their way for their clients no matter what. When I was interning, they had the kennels in the back containing a wild bird with a broken wing, and a stray kitten with sever neurological damage. Their treatments were coming straight out of their own pockets. And to be fair, I stay with family for the weekend when I drive the 5 hours home to see the vets.

But back on topic!! Do you happen to live within driving distance of a veterinary college? They would have Drs. on staff that specialize in allergies and nutrition. It can cost a little more (I paid $150 for an office call charge with a cardiologist) but they tend to have some very good answers within 1 appointment.
post #20 of 29
My cat that has bad food allergies recently developed the whole puffy chin, mouth bumps as well. She got a dex shot and for dry we are using IVD/Royal Canin Green peas and Venison. She was eating all wet for a while. I have to get the IVD from another vet office though because mine carries the SD brand.
post #21 of 29
Uno has chicken allergies, and I have found that California Natural has been the best, although someone mentioned that they had been changing their formulas, I had not heard that. I also work for an all cat hospital and IVD carries plenty of allergy diets-Lamb and Rice, Duck and green pea, Rabbit and green pea, Fish and rice and Venison and Potato. Science Diet also carries Z/d which is supposed to be an allergy diet as well. I would not recommend the Z/D as several clients have been calling lately stating that their cats will no longer eat the food, it smells bad and their cats have diarrhea, now keep in mind these are all cats that have been on this for a while now and just recieved new bags of food. Not sure what that is about, but we have left messages for our Science Diet representative, no call back yet.
post #22 of 29
don't know how this'll work for canada, but petfooddirect has IVD available online...
post #23 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by kittycorner View Post
I have found that California Natural has been the best, although someone mentioned that they had been changing their formulas, I had not heard that.

I don't know if California Naturals has changed their formula, but I noticed they had new packaging. When Natura changed packaging on some of the other foods in the fall, the formula also changed.
post #24 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by whiteforest View Post
I don't know if California Naturals has changed their formula, but I noticed they had new packaging. When Natura changed packaging on some of the other foods in the fall, the formula also changed.
they did added white rice ( IMO not a big deal but many have issue) ... and rosemary it was the third formula in about a yr
post #25 of 29
My cat has wicked food allergies... he seems to do best when fish is the main protein source. He's also allergic to peas xD

SO anyway, right now he's on Herring and Sweet Potatoe. Someone here recommended Canine Caviar, which happens to make raw beaver, so we're going to try that. Anyway you could give the Herring and Sweet Potatoe a shot. Addiction has a Unagi & Seaweed, also a Brushtail and Vegetable which might be novel enough for your cat if you can find it.

Napolean is reacting the herring and sweet potatoe so we're going to try the canine Caviar and also see about a brand called "Orijen" which is like 75% fish and has no grains.

Also the allergist I talked to told me that cats with food allergies will be fine on a food for months and then start to react, so you're pretty much stuck rotating their foods their whole lives. So if your cat is reacting to Natural balance, put them on something else for a while, and you can rotate back to that food eventually to try it out again.
post #26 of 29
The Orijen fish variety may just be in Canada for now (according to their website). While I really liked their original formula (until one of my cats developed some sort of allergy to something), I would hesistate to use their fish formula as it has leeks. Since leeks are a type of onion, and onions (cooked or raw) can be very toxic, I am very concerned about their use in a cat food which would be fed on a daily basis. Also, I wrote an email to them expressing my concerns almost two weeks ago, and I have not heard anything in response. I hope they reformulate it without the leeks.
post #27 of 29
Quote:
The Orijen fish variety may just be in Canada for now (according to their website).
Hmmm that's interesting. A store here in oregon was able to order it for me. It's hopefully coming tomorrow. Hopefully it's the right food!

Another food I totally forgot to mention is Ziwi Peak. They have an all Venison formula that's just dried meat. It's really expensive, like 12.99 for 14oz. But it's a great food as well. It's kind of hard to come by, but most stores even if they don't stock it, will order it for you.
post #28 of 29
It's possible there website is out-of-date.
post #29 of 29
Quote:
It's possible there website is out-of-date.
I hope so because it would be crummy if they got the wrong food. [Although not shocking...]
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