Food ideas for the picky cat who needs a special diet
My 8 year old cat suffered from crystals in his bladder and a blocked urinary track recently. Vet says Prescription CD diet, cat say no chance am I eating that crap. I have been trying to find any wet cat food with low ash that he will eat with little luck. He prefers dry food but won't eat the CD and only picks at the over the counter urinary health diets. I figured if I could get him on a canned food at least he would be getting more fluid which is good, but he really doen't like anything I've given him. I've been trying to keep the ash content to 2.5% or less.
One of my cats was having idiopathic cystitis every few months or so for awhile. Vet prescribed the Royal Canin Urinary SO for her. It was in pouches and she actually really liked it! But she still would get these stupid infections even on the food and they stopped the pouches and changed it to cans and then it wasn't as juicy and she wouldn't eat it very well .
Read up on the grain free diets and that they sometimes help. Bought some Taste of the Wild at the feed store and she LOVED it! Up until December, when I bought a whole bunch of it. Sigh. Then she decided she didn't like it anymore. Went to Petco and got a bunch of their grain free wet food brands to try. She LOVED the Halo brand! Until about a month ago. Now she doesn't really love anything (stupid cat - I just want her to eat!!!). She's super picky, too. The best out of the latest batch I tried was Avoderm. It's chunks of chicken but super juicy so I smoosh the chunks and pour a bunch of the juice on it and she eats some of it.
Not sure what else we'll try when she decides she doesn't like it, either! I'm sticking with the grain free because it seems to have cleared up the cystitis issues. She will eat some of the Wellness grain free dry (but doesn't like the canned version of it).
Last edited by reefy!; Apr. 18, 2011 at 08:43 PM.
Reason: Grammar - sheesh
My kitty will eat the dry Purina urinary food but not the CD. She won't eat either of them canned. I've tried feeding her just about every canned food I can find and she likes Fromm the best. I think it's a slightly wetter pate than the others.
I have had great luck with all picky kitties in getting them to eat Tiki Cat food. I think they only make wet food, and it is seriously kitty crack. Have never had one refuse it yet. Warning though, I found it made the poo somewhat stinky. Looks like most of their formulas are around 2% ash.
Thanks everyone. Reefy I feel your pain, this pretty much describes what goes on here, seems to like a food, I buy it again and then he thinks its poison. No, he's not an indoor cat, I do believe he would live longer, sadly I also believe he would kill us in our sleep and eat us if left inside for too long. (which would solve my feeding problem I suppose )
I am writing down all the suggestions, we'll see how it goes...
I'm not familiar with feeding a CD-type diet so take this for what it's worth:
A few months ago we transitioned all our cats to grain-free, limited ingridents. We were having constant problems with puking with two of them and Tally (the 17 year old) was also constantly gnawing at her legs and picking at her ears. Puking is virtually eliminated and Tally's allergic gnawing is gone too. The litterbox is also not nearly so nasty.
Here's what we've had luck with:
- Blue Buffalo Wilderness kibbles. (Duck and Salmon are the favorites)
- "Core" kibbles (this is a lukewarm success)
- "Before Grain" kibbles (this week you can get a free bag at PetCo free if you buy some canned food)
We usually have an assortment of the above and rotate between them.
We have NOT had any success with Wellness, Spot's Stew or the BB "Spa" kibble. Not even our resident glutton will eat those. They were total fail. If I still ahd the recipet I'd have sent in for a refund of them but by the time we realized they were NOT going to eat any of them... ah well. /shrug
- "Soultastic" brand (very popular)
- "Before Grain" 96% brand (very popular)
- BB Wilderness canned (lukewarm, the duck is popular)
- Natural Balance
- Merek 5 Star something (ours like the PotPie and Turkducken)
We keep an assortment of them and just rotate. Tally eats much better if she doesn't get the same thing 2x in a row. As long as we cycle her foods we normally win.
Right now we really want to find something with rabbit and lamb, but no luck so far.
"The nice thing about memories is the good ones are stronger and linger longer than the bad and we sure have some incredibly good memories." - EverythingButWings
If he likes dry, you can also wet that food down. Thats what I was doing with mine for awhile who need wet food (another owner of a cystitis suffering cat who has not had, knock on wood, any outbreaks since I changed his diet to a wet food one over a year ago) when the Wellness canned cat food recall happened a month of so ago.
Basically I added enough water to the dry kibble to "puff" the kibbles up, then smooshed it around with more water (use warm water and give it about five minutes to soak).
I'm also a proponent of trying to seek out a grain free food. Cats don't really need them.
I have had amazing luck with Orijen- I thought I had healthy, good looking cats before I started feeding it, but afterwards WOW! It's quite pricey, but looking at the ingredients list I can see why.
Same here, feeding Orijen is the best thing I've ever done for my cat. He's long haired but brushing him has become a pointless exercise since I've never found a matt and he barely sheds compared to other cats I know. He eats it free choice but keeps in perfect weight. He smells wonderful, teeth are shiny white, litter box is barely noticeable, not a flake to be found on his skin... Good stuff It's expensive, but worth it! They do have 2 flavors and switching back and forth can help with the picky eaters.
The other thing you could look into is a raw diet. Very healthy, and some picky eaters will go for it. Mine loves the bits of raw meat he gets at times. I'm basically just too lazy and busy to go completely raw so he and the dogs get a little bit as a supplement instead.
Another thumbs up for orijen. Worth the price. I get about a month out of a bag for my two cats, which I pay about $20 for in my neck of the woods.
One of my cats could probably eat anything and thrive. Well, he has - his history includes time living in a car.
My little female cat (admittedly my darling adored I would do anything for her cat) was a wreck about 18 months back. We feared she might die. Best diagnosis was likely IBD. (much wonderful veterinary involvement in all this; love my vets!) I researched a lot and put them both on a home-made raw diet. Yep, it's gross to make and icky to feed but they LOVED it and the best part? Cured my cat.
Once she was healed, healthy, and vibrant again I transitioned to a canned, grain-free food for a while. Once they were both great on that, transitioned again to a dry, grain-free food (not orijen) and then transitioned to orijen once I learned about it from a store owner. (I'm keeping the raw food diet as my 'big guns' should she ever have a similar reaction to stress in our future).
Great quality ingredients, they seem to utilize it very well, and they LOVE the stuff. She at least is a very picky eater. I've fed both the seafood and the chicken-based formula with success (chicken seems tastier to them).
What I found with these two, as well as my previous cat with renal issues, is that high quality grain free food is a lot easier on their system than most special diets which are grain based.
Oh, side note, the canned wellness grain free stuff was a hold nose and turn away for both my cats. Too chunky. Um, carrots? Really? Expensive fail.
I'm also a fan of here's your food (we make a fun production out of it), enjoy your meal. Didn't feel like eating? Oh well, it went away and you'll be offered it at your next mealtime. I don't free feed, I give a portion at roughly set mealtimes. Works for them and us.
Failing kidneys, chronic cystitis and blockages are not all the same problem, but are treated similarly once the blockage handled. The vet and I don't agree on the feed - he suggests the prescription stuff from Science Diet - you're right that they won't eat most of these foods. And I walked away from SD after the pet food recall in 2007 when we lost our dog from eating one of the foods on the list. Most "premium" foods were all made at the same place from the same cr*p - read the labels and look for grains and glutens.
Research led me to Wellness, which we use exclusively. One of the 20 year olds prefers dry - we use the blue bag chicken formula, her sister prefers wet, but only the canned chicken. None of the other flavors appeal to her. We are in our third year of doing subcutaneous fluids on the one who prefers canned, and recently I've started mixing in Gerber jarred chicken meat to her canned Wellness and heating slightly in the microwave- maybe 7 seconds. She slurps it up. Did I mention she's 20?
Encouraging water consumption is vital for all these problems - one of the little moving water fountains you can get at the major stores seems to be attractive to them, but nothing beats sub-Q fluids two or three times a week if you can bring yourself to handle the needles. And it's not torture - they lie there purring while the fluids drip in. I warm the bag in a basin so it's more comfortable.
Changing food also cleared up the food allergy and IBS problems plaguing another older cat - she was fat, greasy, balding on her back, with chronic vomiting and diarrhea. We'd started cortisone shots every few months which didn't help. All problems gone when she started the Wellness (the vomiting immediately, the rest within a few weeks).
My cat, who had cystitis a few months' back, is doing fine now on Nine Lives Plus Care Dry, which is low PH (which also seems to reduce the incidence of hairballs, always a plus when two of three are long coats) and with adding a cranberry gel paste to wet foods. Someone on here on an OT day suggested the cranberry supplements and ever since I started adding it he's been problem-free, and despite being Mr. Fussy about flavors, he eats up his food with it mixed in. (I wish he were that easily fooled by hairball gel, but even when you put it on their fur they WIPE IT OFF rather than lick it.)
Origen is a great food but too high in protein for a cat with urinary/bladder issues. You need to keep your protein levels at 36% or less with these cats.
Wellness makes one with Salmon that promotes urinary health
You can also add a cranberry supplement.
The main thing with cats with urinary issues is to encourage water drinking. I think a lot of people use too small of a dish for water. I have found that if you use a bowl that is a lot wider that cats are more inclined to drink.