Prescription Diets May Not Be a Good Nutritional Choice for Your Cat

cat_eating

You’ve probably seen them on the shelves at your local veterinary hospital, or maybe your cat is currently eating one of these foods: so-called prescription diets that are formulated for cats with specific health conditions ranging from allergies to gastro-intestinal problems to kidney disease. Also known as therapeutic diets, you would think that these diets are high quality diets that are good for your cats, right?

You couldn’t be further from the truth. The majority of these diets are very high in carbohydrates and contain wheat, corn and soy – ingredients that have no logical place in the diet of an obligate carnivore like the cat. They also generally contain a high amount of by-products.

Why are these diets recommended by veterinarians?

Unfortunately, veterinarians receive very little training in nutrition, and what little they do receive is frequently sponsored by the very same companies who manufacture these diets. “99% of all veterinarians who ‘prescribe’ these diets truly feel that they are doing the best for their patients,” says Dr. Lisa Pierson, the veterinarian behind Catinfo.org. “The companies that manufacture the ‘alphabet’ diets have done a wonderful job marketing their products to veterinarians, making it difficult to refrain from falling into the trap of using them.”

Dr. Pierson argues that in many cases, due to their poor quality, these therapeutic diets can actually be detrimental to a cat’s health. “In addition, they are simply not necessary in most cases and do not optimally address the problems they claim to treat,” says Dr. Pierson. “Add to this the very high price tag on these diets and we have what I consider to be a very big ‘black eye’ for the profession.”

Educate yourself about feline nutrition

I know it’s not easy to contradict your veterinarian’s recommendation, especially when it’s a vet you trust on all other matters. I urge you to educate yourself about feline nutrition, and make an informed decision before agreeing to put your cat on one of these diets. A high-quality over-the-counter or a properly formulated homemade diet may be a better nutritional choice for your cat, and still address her specific health needs.

Click here to read Dr. Pierson’s complete article
on Prescription and Therapeutic Diets

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102 Comments on Prescription Diets May Not Be a Good Nutritional Choice for Your Cat

  1. Denise
    October 7, 2016 at 12:00 am (7 months ago)

    Hi my 6 yr old has been in C/d wet food for about 2 years due to being diagnosed with Feline Lower Urinary Tract disease..he has had maybe 2 flair ups since put on script,but the food cost so much money. Is there anything else i can do for him..p.s..he refuses to drink water so i have to put it in his wet food..prohibited any dry food

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      October 7, 2016 at 5:23 am (7 months ago)

      Moisture in the food is the most important thing for cats with urinary tract disease. Adding water to the canned food is great, and you may also want to consider a fountain to encourage drinking.

      Reply
      • Denise
        October 7, 2016 at 6:31 am (7 months ago)

        So i should stay with the c/d food then?

        Reply
          • Denise
            October 7, 2016 at 9:17 am (7 months ago)

            The foods in the article seem to be as much money as the prescription c/d food he is on now for his flutds

          • Ingrid
            October 7, 2016 at 9:45 am (7 months ago)

            Unfortunately, with cat food, it’s a case of you get what you pay for. The foods on my list are nutritionally far more appropriate for cats than the prescription diets. You can look at lower cost options of canned diets, but I can’t recommend any of them.

  2. Teri
    June 12, 2016 at 2:26 pm (11 months ago)

    My 9 yrs old cat was diagnosed with diabetes. I cannot afford the expensive W/D hill wet or dry cat food. He doesn’t like the dry food and tolerates the wet. Any well know brands in pet stores/markets that I can feed him? He is also on insulin 2X per day I am a senior living on a very limited social security check so I want a good food I can feed him that won’t break the bank.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      June 12, 2016 at 4:41 pm (11 months ago)

      It’s unusual for vets to still recommend high fiber diets for diabetic cats. Generally, a low-carb diet is a better choice, but the transition must be done VERY carefully if a cat is receiving insulin. You can find detailed information on this topic on Dr. Lisa Pierson’s site: http://catinfo.org/?link=felinediabetes

      Reply
  3. Amber
    May 28, 2016 at 5:40 pm (11 months ago)

    We recently adopted our 8 yr. old kitty from the local shelter. He ate dry kibble at the shelter, and for the first couple days after bringing him home. Then, he stopped. After trying several different foods, both wet and dry, we found one that he will actually eat. But he isn’t eating enough… he was brought in as a stray, so we have absolutely no idea what his diet was like before. His foster momma happens to work where we vet and I asked her advise. She gave us a ziplock baggie of dry “prescription” cat food she uses for her kitties. He’s crazy about it! I am not crazy about it though – I have spent months reading and researching feline diets and after reading the ingredients of this product, I am certain it is NOT a healthy food for him! I am conflicted – I do not want our sweet boy to waste away, but I do not want him eating a junkie food that will cause health problems later. Any advise you can offer would be appreciated! Thank you!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 29, 2016 at 5:31 am (11 months ago)

      You are correct that a prescription diet is not a healthy food for your boy, Amber. You can find my recommendations here: http://consciouscat.net/2012/03/22/the-best-food-for-your-cat/ It may take a while to transition him to a better diet, but it will be worth it to avoid health problems down as he gets older.

      Reply
  4. Jonina B
    April 26, 2016 at 1:59 pm (1 year ago)

    Hello,

    My 14.5 year old boy was just recently diagnosed with Early Renal Failure. A prescription diet was recommended for the k/d formula which I have already started him on and he loves it. After eating Blue dry kibble for most of his life and Weruva’s BFF Tuna and Pumpkin valentine wet food, I’ve switched to Hills Prescription k/d diet. I’m giving him both the canned wet food and the dry. I do not like the corn or the soy in the dry kibble. Do you have any recommendations for an alternative kidney diet food I can ask my vet for?
    I really want to give him the best foods that I can and right now his Urea Nitrogen is at 37 and BUN/Creatinine 2.4, Ideally I’d like to keep both from going up any higher if possible. He is drinking an excessive amount of water and his urine is extremely diluted. The vet did not see any blood or protein in his urine and his blood pressure was normal. How else can I try to keep this kidney disease from progressing?
    Also, are Greenies treats alright for him to snack on?
    He is very persistent with eating. Did I mention that he’s 22 pounds too? The vet said his ideal weight is about 14, he’s a larger framed boy.

    Thank you in advance!

    Reply
    • Naomi
      July 20, 2016 at 4:49 pm (9 months ago)

      Try looking up Dave’s restricted diet cat foods. There are two types one equivalent to C/D the other is equivalent to K/D. My cat did not do well on the Hills C/D but is doing quite well on Dave’s restricted diet wet food.

      Reply
  5. Juli
    March 28, 2016 at 4:13 pm (1 year ago)

    My cat was prescribed a hydrolizded diet by royal canine from my vet cause after tests were done, she felt he was having allergic reaction to the food. If these foods are bad and most store bought foods are bad, I am confused as to what I should be feeding both my cats- the other has Asthma & pancretitus.

    Reply
  6. Hazel
    March 28, 2016 at 12:57 pm (1 year ago)

    You know, I have always wondered about this a lot. I’ve never been a subscriber to the prescription diet fad, but rather feeding the best wet food I can afford that my cat will eat. Ideally I like something without wheat, corn, or soy fillers.
    I’ve been looking at working for a vet recently and just had an interview somewhere they seem to spend a large chunk of their time and effort pushing prescription diets and traditional flea preventatives, both of which I am not sure how I feel about and that makes me sad! So I appreciate your post and glad to see other people do agree these diets are not the best.

    Reply
    • debbie
      March 29, 2016 at 6:57 pm (1 year ago)

      I agree. People r going to have to do their research on what is and isn’t good for their cat. Education is the key. I have learned a lot since reading stuff from Ingrid Consciousness Cat and other places. Thanks Ingrid for all that u do to help educated us what may be best for our feline friends.

      Reply
  7. Mrs M
    September 15, 2015 at 1:09 pm (2 years ago)

    Our solution:

    A little Miralax every morning (about 1/4 teaspoon, maybe less). We put it on a plate and cover it with gravy from a can of food (on counter because we have other cats). After that, he wanders over to the faucet to drink water. PERFECT.

    Reply
  8. Yoyo
    January 8, 2015 at 9:44 pm (2 years ago)

    Hi Ingrid,
    One of my cats has bladder stones a few months ago, and we fed him royal canin urinary so dry food, but we actually put the dry food in water to make him drink more. And he got rid of all the stones 2 months ago. The doctor recommended us to switch to the kidney prescription food, saying that he needs both those kind of cat food. And one week ago, he had a little bit of stones again. And we switched him back to urinary so again. I wanted to know does he really need to stay on a prescription food for the rest of his life? He’s only 3 years old, and I’m afraid those perscription food doesn’t have enough nutrition to support them. And do have have any recommended food for this situation?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      January 9, 2015 at 7:02 am (2 years ago)

      I would consult with a holistic veterinarian, Yoyo. Kidney diets are very low in protein, and protein restriction in such a young cat may not be a good choice.

      Reply
  9. Sarah
    November 18, 2014 at 1:30 am (2 years ago)

    I was doing some research about cat food and prescription diets when I found your blog.

    My 8 year old domestic short hair male cat was diagnosed with constipation about a month ago. Per vet instructions, I tried canned pumpkin and tried to get him to drink more water. Kitty is still constipated, but he still manages to “go”. (Although I’ve found a few presents on the floor) I really feel like I need to modify his diet and get him on better quality food, but I feel so lost. Vet said that there’s a slight chance that he could be in the beginning stages of mega colon…which I’d like to stop that asap. In the meantime, the vet has given me a sample of prescription dry cat food (high fiber) to help.

    Any suggestions on wet cat food? I really want to take him to a holistic vet, but there’s none in the area.

    Reply
  10. Janice
    May 14, 2013 at 8:36 am (4 years ago)

    My sweetie is on SO royal canin feline for chronic UTI’s he had surgery perineal urethrostomy . he is doing well now . I am concern if this prescription food wet and dry is the right food .I have other cats eating this as well . I also feed blue wilderness to . But not to sweetie . it costing me but don’t know what to do at this point . can you give me any suggestions.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      May 14, 2013 at 9:22 am (4 years ago)

      If Sweetie is doing well on the prescription diet, you may not want to change to a different diet, but I would eliminate the dry version and feed only the canned. Dry food is never a good idea, even for healthy cats, but it’s especially important to not feed dry food to cats with urinary tract issues. I’m not familiar with the Blue Wilderness brand, so I can’t comment on that. You can find the brands I recommend here: http://consciouscat.net/2012/03/22/the-best-food-for-your-cat/

      Reply
  11. Nancy
    April 8, 2013 at 2:52 pm (4 years ago)

    Update on Scampie…back to the vet this a.m. for an ultrasound. Everything is perfect, no blockages, everything reads in the normal range…so definitely a digestive thing…

    The vet gave me some FortiFlora…I sprinkled some on the wet food and he ate some and a few kibbles…still pooping here and there on the floor…( I think he has litter box aversion at the moment)…hopefully it clears up soon….

    DH will be in charge as I’m going to a convention State-side….will keep you posted on my progress…I’m bound and determined that this is going to work and the next step will be feeding raw…

    Nancy

    Reply
  12. Nancy
    April 7, 2013 at 11:21 am (4 years ago)

    I shouldn’t have said black…it’s dark brown and smelly…he’s already been to the vet, stool sample and all was checked, blood work also…all was fine….the stools were the same color before…I think he can’t tolerate the beef food, seems to do better with chicken….

    I’m sure it’s only getting used to the new food…I can’t wait for the enzymes to show up…the kibble is grain free chicken…so we will see how he does today…

    Nancy

    Reply
  13. Heather Poulsen
    April 4, 2013 at 10:55 am (4 years ago)

    I found this article very informative. I lost two cats last year, both were 17 – one had diabetes with kidney failure and the other one had renal insufficiency for six years. I can’t help but think dry food attributed to their issues. I recently adopted two older cats from the humane society, they are 13 and 15 and they currently eat one canned and one dry food meal a day. This article has me thinking they should go to a strictly canned food. They currently eat Fancy Feast and one could stand to lose a couple of pounds and also has slightly elevated kidney levels. I find the list overwhelming as far as choosing the best type of canned food. Any suggestions on an appropriate canned diet I could try?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 4, 2013 at 3:54 pm (4 years ago)

      Heather, click through on the badge in the sidebar for my recommendations.

      Reply
      • Nancy
        April 7, 2013 at 6:23 am (4 years ago)

        Well Ingrid, I was at my wits end yesterday….still having trouble with Scampie, he was super uncomfortable and pooping on the floor some…very oily and black…

        So I went to the pet store again and bought Nature Valley’s grain free kibble…so here is what he is being fed…

        A heaping TBSP of wet food, with a bit of warm water and 1/3 cup of kibble twice a day…those enzymes are stuck in CA at the moment waiting to clear customs…

        He was bright and chirpy this a.m. with a small semi-solid poop…so here’s hoping this will do the trick!

        Nanchy

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          April 7, 2013 at 9:09 am (4 years ago)

          I’m a little concerned about your description of his stool as black, Nancy – I would run this by your vet.

          Reply
  14. fran
    April 4, 2013 at 10:16 am (4 years ago)

    Tiki cat is great, no carbohydrates. Weruva, another great food. Buy them on amazon. Worth the money. Human grade.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 4, 2013 at 3:55 pm (4 years ago)

      I haven’t investigated Tiki Cat enough to be comfortable recommending it, but Weruva is one of the brands I feed and recommend. It is most definitely worth the money, Fran.

      Reply
  15. Sarah
    April 3, 2013 at 9:06 pm (4 years ago)

    I work at a vet and hate the diets!! I posted this link on Facebook and a vet at my work said that people should listen to their vet and not a receptionist (which is what I am) and that you are not a nutritionist but of coarse since this is the Internet it must be true!! Ahhh! Drove me nuts!! My main question is my friend who knows how bad prescription diets are is feeding one to her cat who got blocked with stones. He is on hills CD. She knows how bad it is but is so worried his stones will come back of she uses something else,.,and of coarse I would feel horrible if I tell her try a certain food instead and them they do come back!! What would you recommend,, do you have a reference she might be able to access for recommended foods or what she should do?? Thanks so much!!

    Reply
  16. MistyLee
    April 3, 2013 at 2:52 pm (4 years ago)

    Very interesting. I’ve wanted to look more deeply into what I should be feeding my cats but so far I’ve been just going with what the vet recommends.

    But all you’ve done here is eliminate one option. lol The alternative you suggest is a “high quality over the counter” food which doesn’t help me at all. I have studied and figured out how we humans should eat and I read labels before buying. Maybe some suggestions for what we should be looking for in the ingredient list?

    BTW my cats are an adult obese indoor outdoor female and an indoor only adolescent male, both altered.

    thanks

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 3, 2013 at 2:53 pm (4 years ago)

      Please see my response to Michael above for my recommendations or click through on the badge in the sidebar, MistyLee.

      Reply
      • MistyLee
        April 3, 2013 at 2:57 pm (4 years ago)

        Thanks, with much searching I finally found it. lol I thought it was another ad and didn’t pay it any mind. Sorry
        In my searching I see you are a Reiki master, so I’ll be going elsewhere for my information. Thanks any way.

        Reply
  17. jan terlikowski
    April 3, 2013 at 2:37 pm (4 years ago)

    I have two female cats both just turned 8 years old. Both indoors only. I currently feed them Iams for weight control as, they are a bit over weight. What do you suggest I feed them??

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 3, 2013 at 2:50 pm (4 years ago)

      Please click through on the badge in the sidebar on the “Feeding Your Carnivore” badge for my recommendations, Jan.

      Reply
  18. Jim
    April 3, 2013 at 1:41 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Ingrid…. I was informed by my vet that mt 4 year old Calico Manx female had the beginning signs of gingivitus (sp), so he prescribed the Hills prescription diet T/d for her. Any thoughts on this brand? Here’s the specs for your convenience… Thanks!

    Protein 16.5
    Fat 16.3
    Carbohydrate (NFE) 53.0
    Crude Fiber 10.4
    Calcium 0.56
    Phosphorus 0.42
    Sodium 0.22
    Potassium 0.63
    Magnesium 0.075
    Vitamin C 120 mg/kg
    Vitamin E 568 IU/kg

    Reply
    • Jim
      April 3, 2013 at 1:42 pm (4 years ago)

      Thanks for any assistance…

      Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 3, 2013 at 1:47 pm (4 years ago)

      I don’t like the ingredients in any of the Hill’s diets, Jim. The myth that dry food cleans cats’ teeth just won’t die. Most cats don’t chew their kibble long enough for any of the scraping action that is the theory behind this myth to kick in. What little they do chew shatters into small pieces. T?D and other “dental diet” that are made up of larger than normal sized kibble to encourage chewing, but in my years at veterinary practices, I’ve seen many cats swallow even those larger size pieces whole. Additionally, dry food leaves a carbohydrate residue in the cat’s mouth that actually encourages growth of tartar and plaque.

      Reply
      • Jim
        April 3, 2013 at 1:59 pm (4 years ago)

        Well darn, this diet came highly recommended….. Can you suggest a food or product that can help with her oral issues? I might add that this is not her primary diet, she also gets a diet of wet food with a better protein offering… Thank you very much..

        Reply
  19. Angela
    April 3, 2013 at 12:51 pm (4 years ago)

    Every cat is an individual. Just like humans, many health issues come down to heredity. One cat could be feed store brand foods all its life, have no health issues, and live to be 20 years old. Another cat from the get go, no matter what it’s fed has problems. I see a lot of posts here where people are beating themselves up for not feeding the “right” food or not seeing health problems sooner. The fact that you do care so much now shows me that you do have your cats well being in mind, and shouldn’t be so hard on yourselves. Sometimes, the health of these darn creatures we love so much, is just out of our hands.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm (4 years ago)

      Beautifully said, Angela!

      Reply
  20. Pammy
    April 3, 2013 at 12:45 pm (4 years ago)

    I don’t know whether this is true or not. My cat has been diagnosed with lymphocytic colitis. Since he has been on the Royal Canin Satiety Support dry and Royal Canin Calorie Control High Fiber canned he hasn’t had one single flare-up and this has been a few months. Previously I was feeding my cats Wellness, as I had my previous cats. This didn’t agree with him at all – he constantly had blood in his stools and the runs. It hasn’t happened at all since he has been on the Royal Canin. Something must be working. However, I don’t think that prescription diets work for everyone. I believe that each case is totally individual and should be treated as such.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 3, 2013 at 1:50 pm (4 years ago)

      If it’s working for you, then don’t change anything, Pammy.

      Reply
  21. Adriana
    April 3, 2013 at 11:10 am (4 years ago)

    Dear Ingrid,
    My 14 year old best friend “Felicia” is losing a bit of weigth, and she is already tiny. Her Doctor said losing .12 pounds was not much. But for a 5 pound cat, I don’t think is quite favorable. She has already lost most of her teeth so, all I can feed her is canned food, and a few treats (soft) She is very active and her appetite is not bad, and thank God she is in good health! But I wish I can do something to help her feel like that for a few more years. So, PLEASE! What would you recommend to give her so she can put on a little weight in a healthy way? Thank you so much!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 3, 2013 at 1:52 pm (4 years ago)

      Adriana, I’d look for good grain-free brands, and do some research on caloric content so that you feed the ones that are higher in calories. You can also supplement with cooked chicken if she likes that. Another option may be to go to raw food. You can find lots of information on raw feeding in the Feline Nutrition category on this site.

      Reply
  22. Tami Amburn
    April 3, 2013 at 10:59 am (4 years ago)

    Blue Buffalo spa select has been a Godsend for one of my cats who threw up everything and had constant diarrhea. Its the only thing her system can eat regularly.

    One of my other cats has been recently dianosed with kidney disease. I have tried the special foods from Purina and Science diet but she does not like them very much. Its still a work in progress. Right now, when she has a UTI, I have to make sure she eats SOMETHING, what ever it might be.

    Thanks Ingrid for all your great insights.

    Reply
  23. Kellie
    April 3, 2013 at 10:46 am (4 years ago)

    I found this to be so very true! My cat went into severe kidney failure after getting into a jar of baby food with onions in it. He spent several days on IV’s at the vet and when he came home, we were given a ridiculously expensive prescription cat food. We fed him this for about a year and still had a lot of medical issues with him, even having him crash twice. His once beautiful fur became dull, and he even started losing some in spots. This was not an old cat, only 10. Then I when the whole melamine issue came out, I started researching grain free foods, and found a brand that was totally grain free. I worried that this would be too taxing on his kidneys, but had found some research done at UC Davis Vet School suggesting that protein for cats was their natural diet and that assuming cats function like a human is flawed logic. So, I switched a little at a time. My cat flourished. He died at 16 from cancer on his leg and when they were doing all the blood work for that, the vet said there was NO EVIDENCE he had kidney issues at all and that aside from the tumor on his leg, he was healthier than any 16 year old cat she has seen in her practice. Beautiful, shiny coat too! I will NEVER go back to feeding anything else!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 3, 2013 at 1:53 pm (4 years ago)

      Wonderful testimonial, Kellie – thanks for sharing.

      Reply
  24. Sandy Dean
    April 3, 2013 at 10:35 am (4 years ago)

    Hi, We have 2 male cats on Royal Canin SO dry & wet for bladder crystals-any info on the So diets? They’ve both been thru blockages and one had surgery for stones.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 3, 2013 at 1:55 pm (4 years ago)

      If it works for your cats, don’t change it, Sandy. Your best option, if you wish to make a change, is to work with a holistic veterinarian who can help you formulate an appropriate diet.

      Reply
  25. MIchael
    April 3, 2013 at 10:23 am (4 years ago)

    Hey I have a question,

    After reading this im a little concerned, I give my 9 cats a mix of Hills TD ( Prescription which they love) Iams restricted calorie (formally Eukanuba) and Eukanuba Indoor cat formula.

    I wanted to see what your thoughts were on the foods I am currently giving my cats.

    Reply
  26. Viv
    April 3, 2013 at 9:49 am (4 years ago)

    Hi, a friend has a cat that will eat nothing but one of these diet foods. She has tried to feed her other things with no luck, not even chicken or tuna etc. what can she do – I worry about this cat as her body is disproportionately fat, my friend also worries but is at a loss.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 3, 2013 at 1:57 pm (4 years ago)

      I can’t comment on this specific case, Viv, without having more information. Sometimes, it can take patience and time to transition a cat to a healthier diet.

      Reply
  27. Ingrid
    April 3, 2013 at 9:46 am (4 years ago)

    To everyone who is asking about recommendations for cats with urinary tract issues: I can’t recommend specific diets for your cat’s specific conditions. For starters, I’m not a veterinarian. Additionally, not all urinary tract issues are the same. I suggest discussing your cat’s specific diet needs with a holistic veterinarian. He/she can suggest an appropriate diet and/or supplements for your cat’s individual needs.

    Reply
  28. Katherine
    April 3, 2013 at 9:36 am (4 years ago)

    I am feeding my cats Life’s Abundance Instinctive Choice. I however lost an 8 year old Tuxie to bladder cancer this past March. We were admonished by our vet to feed him Blue Buffalo’s weight loss formula, hence we did. He was getting heavier as he got older, and we were at fault for that. We didn’t push him to exercise after he would give out after 5 minutes or so. But in Februray he had a UTI, they wanted to switch him to Science Diet Urinary formula. However we never got a chance to bring him home. Within a month he was completely blocked and they did emergency surgery on Puddles. He had a black mass growing all around the lining of his bladder. He was euthanized. We are devastated. The only reason why we started Life’s Abundance was the fact that he vomited other foods. He was also affected by the terrible contaminated food in 07. I have 3 rescue kittens that are almost a year old and a 7 year old female that was Puddles’ best friend. I want to think that Life’s Abundance is the right choice. I was bolstered by reading the article on littebigcat.com about it being good for them. I just wish we had an answer to Puddle’s cancer.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 3, 2013 at 9:43 am (4 years ago)

      I’m sorry about your loss, Katherine. Unfortunately, since so many factors play into what causes cancer, it’s impossible to tell what may have caused it.

      Reply
      • Katherine
        April 3, 2013 at 10:13 am (4 years ago)

        I know. The vet that worked on him was in the same state of shock as we were. She said she was used to seeing that kind of cancer in dogs. But we are in a rural area where large animal vet care is more common. I guess we will always be kicking ourselves. He had no issues until this February when it came to peeing. He played, ate, pooped, slept, he was a happy, loving , cat. We also have a horrible water table where we live. Nitrates are so bad that the city mails us a warning letter every year. We had been using a filtered water fountain for many years. So, who knows? Time and unforseen occurance befalls us all. Thank you for responding.

        Reply
  29. Sally
    April 3, 2013 at 9:19 am (4 years ago)

    This is all very upsetting. I have 4 fabulous cats who are special diet food. Three of my boys have had crystals and are eating Royal Canin Urunary SO. They also get Natural Balance indoor kitty canned food daily. One of those four suffers from occasional constipation which I now treat with miralax. My other boy is overweight and now eats Purina OM weight management both canned and dry. he too has occasional constipation and now get daily miralax. This a all expensive and I really want to make certain the diets are healthy. I am very involved in the cat community working with my local shelter, a no kill rescue and an animal hospital. i also am a cat sitter for my employment. I want to have the best information for me, the people who adopt from the groups as well as my clients. Most of all I want my guys to have the best diet they can for long and healthy lives.
    Thank you
    Sally…. Jonesey, Marlin, Brodie and Finnegan

    Reply
  30. Angela
    April 3, 2013 at 9:18 am (4 years ago)

    So what should they eat? I have an obese, long-haired epileptic cat with gastric problems. She’s had the gastric problems since she was a kitten, along with her brother. If we feed them anything accept Science Diet Sensitive Stomach mixed with SD Hairball Control, they get sick and have the worst smelling gas and poops you can imagine. My vet said the diet was fine, but she suggested wet food. Same thing as above happens with wet food, even the same brand. I’d be happy to move to something else, but everything else we’ve tried (albeit not much) has not gone well. any suggestions appreciated 🙂

    Thanks,
    Angela

    Reply
  31. Robin Olson
    April 3, 2013 at 9:17 am (4 years ago)

    You go girl!!!!!!! Keep on spreadin’ that important news!

    Reply
  32. Nancy
    April 2, 2013 at 6:58 pm (4 years ago)

    Well Ingrid, fingers crossed it seems to be working, he’s perked right up…so I will keep the three times a day feeding schedule with smaller amounts until the enzymes show up. He even stole a few kibbles from Sophie ( I will transition her later when he’s all settled)…she’s pretty heavy…not like him at all…

    Thanks so much,
    Nancy

    Reply
    • Nancy
      April 3, 2013 at 9:51 am (4 years ago)

      Eureka! Woohoo! Solid poop this morning! He’s also scampering around…hence his name Scampie!

      Thanks so much Ingrid!

      Nancy

      Reply
  33. Nancy
    April 2, 2013 at 7:09 am (4 years ago)

    I must have read your mind Ingrid! Last night I just fed heaping tablespoon of food with warm water added (as it was in the fridge). He ate half of it, then I took it away after 45 minutes.

    No poopy surprises this a.m. ( I did find a little dried vomit). I did the same thing this morning and so far so good, he ate the whole thing.

    I might call the vet this a.m. to see if I can have some more probiotic until the Dr. Goodpet gets here.

    I’ll keep you posted and thank you,
    Nancy

    Reply
  34. Nancy
    April 1, 2013 at 5:50 pm (4 years ago)

    Oh my…Scampie is not doing so well today…he gobbled up the food this a.m. just to vomit it back out…and then the runs again in the litter box and out….yikes!

    I have ordered the Dr. Goodpet enzymes, but it will take a while to get here…any suggestions until it gets here?

    Thanks a bunch,
    Nancy

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      April 2, 2013 at 6:05 am (4 years ago)

      Try feeding smaller, more frequent meals.

      Reply
  35. Nancy
    March 31, 2013 at 9:03 am (4 years ago)

    Hi Ingrid:

    Scampie seemed to be doing good yesterday with the new food, he just loves it, but as predicted soft stools abound, with little drips here and there on the floor or window sills.

    He did throw up early this a.m., he was doing that before fairly liquid with hair in it when he was on kibble…anyhow I’m keeping a log on what is happening….

    Thanks for listening to me gripe….

    Nancy

    Reply
  36. Nancy
    March 30, 2013 at 12:39 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Ingrid:

    Yes I will order some of it online as they don’t have it here…

    So far so good…no cramping, but I didn’t put the empty can in the permanent garbage and he sniffed it out…LOL…garbage on the floor and can licked clean…

    Nancy

    Reply
  37. Nancy
    March 30, 2013 at 8:58 am (4 years ago)

    Hi Ingrid: Well I’ve followed your advice and bought some wet food to transition Scampie (15 year old male) from kibble to wet. So far so good…I was trying to fatten him up (he used to weigh 10lbs and is now down to 7.6 lbs), but I tried grocery store wet food, which he loved but it gave him the runs…

    So off to the vet, blood tests and stool tests later…nothing wrong there….so tried to put him back on kibble (he was on vet dental hygiene kibble)…no way no how was that happening…LOL…

    Found your blog and bought some of the suggested wet food…holy smokes and a half…he almost swallowed it whole he ate so fast, if I have to put up with soft stools then so be it, I’ll put up with it…he was having some cramping though so I’ll have to find some sort of pro-biotic for him….I’ll let you know how he makes out…

    Thanks
    Nancy

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 30, 2013 at 10:28 am (4 years ago)

      I would definitely add in a good probiotic and digestive enzymes, Nancy – it may take care of the soft stools. I like Dr. Goodpet’s Feline Digestive Enzymes: http://amzn.to/YRaNcE

      Reply
      • Nancy
        March 31, 2013 at 9:15 am (4 years ago)

        Ingrid, you wouldn’t happen to know where to buy in Canada would you?

        Thanks
        Nancy

        Reply
        • Ingrid
          March 31, 2013 at 10:00 am (4 years ago)

          You’d have to check with the company directly, Nancy.

          Reply
  38. Anna
    March 28, 2013 at 11:00 am (4 years ago)

    Thank you Ingrid for adddressing this very important, vital subject! I have always had the same impression… that vets are poorly trained in nutrition facts, and I see that my impression was correct. I love the holistic approach. I will read more about this, thank you Ingrid!

    Reply
  39. Anna
    March 27, 2013 at 9:37 am (4 years ago)

    My male cat suffers from UTIs and crystals which only seem to stay away when he’s on Hills C/D. I’ve tried weaning him off but within a few weeks, he’s back at the vet. I abhor giving him the food because of the ingredient list but I can’t deny that when he’s on that food, he doesn’t get sick. He just got a clean bill of health from the vet last month and, as much as I want to feed him better quality food, I’m afraid to mess with what’s currently working. Feeding him the C/D seems to be the lesser of two evils at this point.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 27, 2013 at 12:15 pm (4 years ago)

      I can certainly understand your reluctance to take your boy off the c/d, Anna. If you’re willing to explore other ways to manage crystals and recurrent UTI’s, you should work with a holistic veterinarian. He/she may be able to formulate a diet for your cat, and/or recommend supplements that achieve the same thing the c/d diet is designed to achieve. Much as I dislike prescription diets, I would not make a change in your case without expert guidance.

      Reply
    • Cheryl
      April 3, 2013 at 10:35 am (4 years ago)

      Anna, I completely understand your dilemma! My male cat has had two surgeries (1st one left him with scar tissue so he couldn’t pee, 2nd one was very invasive and ultimately gave him a sex change, so that supposedly if he did get crystal they would pass). Well, over $5,500 later, and he still gets problems if I deviate from the Medi-Cal Urinary SO prescription diet. I too have tried other food in an attempt to give him better nutrition and at a better price, only to end up at the vet yet again. To bout, I have a female cat that is extremely fussy and will only eat the stupid Medi-Cal now as well. Which actually is much easier than trying to feed two cats two different things diets. I will continue my research, but please if you come across some great info. or try something that seems to work, please post!

      Reply
    • Brianna
      April 3, 2013 at 4:00 pm (4 years ago)

      I have the same problem with my (just turned) six year old male DSH. He got his first UTI when he was only about two years old, was treated for it, and then got another one a year later. He’s been on Hills C/D ever since and hasn’t had a UTI since being on it.
      We do try to supplement him with better stuff from time to time (usually actual meat), but for the most part I’m also very reluctant to switch his food.

      Reply
  40. sue
    March 27, 2013 at 6:31 am (4 years ago)

    Hi Ingrid, I live in Paris as you know and of all the cat food that exists there seems to be nothing without cereals in any except now for foods coming in from the USA which are even more expensive. Benji has Hills R/D croquettes and at night he has a piece of colin that I cook in the microwave. Its one portion which hasts 4 days. He seems happy for now he is 6 but to find with no cereal seems impossibe here – any ideas? many thanks Ingrid Sue and Benji

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 27, 2013 at 6:50 am (4 years ago)

      R/D is extremely high in fiber. I’d probably try to at least look for a diet that is as low in carbohydrates as you possibly can. Your best bet is probably to work with a holistic veterinarian and make your own food, Sue. I don’t know what “colin” is?

      Reply
  41. The Island Cats
    March 25, 2013 at 7:21 pm (4 years ago)

    I feed my cats the Royal Canin venison and peas prescription food dry because Ernie has allergies. Ernie gets the Natural Balance venison and peas limited ingredient canned food. NB used to make a dry version, but discontinued it. The other cats get other grain free canned food. I have tried other venison foods with Ernie, but he doesn’t like them, so I continue to feed him and the others the Royal Canin. They all get more canned than dry.

    Reply
  42. Stacia H
    March 25, 2013 at 5:35 pm (4 years ago)

    How do you feel about Blue Buffalo Wilderness dry and wet foods? One of my cats was just diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, which we’re now treating transdermally. We probably wouldn’t have known except for the fact that she got a UTI and had to be taken in for that. She lost quite a bit of weight that we also hadn’t noticed because of her winter coat. In a bid to get her to put a bit more weight on, we’re in the process of transitioning her from all Eukanuba dry and Science Diet canned to a mix of Eukanuba and Blue Buffalo mature and their chunky canned foods. She’s 14 and I”m worried that all that extra protein might be hard on her system as well. I’ve also begun to dump a bit of salmon oil on her kibble too in a bid for her to eat a few more bites. Unfortunately, she’s more interested in the oil and the gravy in her wet food than the actual ‘meat’.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 25, 2013 at 6:45 pm (4 years ago)

      I’m not all that familiar with the Blue Buffalo brand, so I’d rather not comment without doing some research first, Stacia.

      Reply
      • Safepethaven
        April 3, 2013 at 9:21 am (4 years ago)

        Blue Buffalo was highly recommended for at least one of my special-needs cats, but not by my well respected veterinarian of over 30 yrs. I tried one small bag of BB & it made my cats that were offered it extremely sick in a few days so I discontinued it immediately & put them back on the rx formulas they’d been on prior & have done well again. One needs to go by the best available info & product(s) & meds/treatments for their particular pets’ special health needs.

        I do find it curious that some folks get really agitated about pet food ingredients, nutrition etc, and yes, they should be concerned & informed; however these same folks use synthetically [i.e. toxic] fragranced, scoopable/clumping cat litter yet think nothing of it. Consider what is it that is added to make all that sandy-textured, “sweet-smelling” scoopable litter clump — for the sole convenience of the pet owner, never thinking what all that “clump” ingredient is doing to the internal tract of their pet, especially after ingesting it over their lifetime? No thanks; not for my pets.

        Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 25, 2013 at 4:29 pm (4 years ago)

      It sure doesn’t explain anything about the quality of the food itself, Connie!

      Reply
  43. Laura K
    March 25, 2013 at 10:53 am (4 years ago)

    My 12 year old obese male cat is currently on Royal Canin prescription diet because he had urinary blockages twice in a month after being on a holistic diet for years. I absolutely dislike giving him the food, but it’s actually working quite well for him. He’s also lost an lb or two since we have to be hyper vigilant with his food. He wouldn’t touch the Science Diet food (which secretly made me happy). We also have an almost 15 year old Persian in early kidney failure. We were offered the prescription food, but politely declined. Keeping him eating & drinking is most important–at his age he gets what he wants!

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 25, 2013 at 10:36 am (4 years ago)

      I’ve heard of Life’s Abundance/Instinctive Choice. It looks good to me on paper, and I certainly trust Dr. Hofve’s recommendations. The only think I don’t like about this diet is that it’s sold under the multilevel marketing business model – something I’m not crazy about, but that has nothing to do with the quality of the products that are being sold that way.

      Reply
      • Amelia Johnson
        April 11, 2013 at 12:16 am (4 years ago)

        I have used and recommended Life’s Abundance products since 2002. The multilevel marketing model actually allows the company to know who their customers are by name so that they can stay in touch with any updates on their products. Life’s Abundance food products have never been recalled. The product formulator is a veterinarian/nutritionist who answers customers’ questions personally through telephone/email access. This is why I trust this company with my pet’s health.

        Reply
  44. Sue Brandes
    March 25, 2013 at 9:33 am (4 years ago)

    I am just learning about the different foods too. Wish I would of know about them when my diabetic kitty was still alive. Maybe he would still be here today. Thank you for the info.

    Reply
  45. Caren Gittleman
    March 25, 2013 at 8:39 am (4 years ago)

    Hmmm…Cody eats Royal Canin’s Veterinary formula green pea and rabbit (both canned AND dry)…….his doesn’t have grain……wouldn’t he still be ok?

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 25, 2013 at 9:06 am (4 years ago)

      Caren, the ingredients in that particular diet don’t look too bad to me. It’s lower in protein and higher in carbs than what I like to see in a feline diet, but since it’s working with Cody’s allergies, I probably wouldn’t change it. It’s hard to find a good rabbit diet that doesn’t source their rabbit from outside the US. I don’t know where Royal Canin sources theirs – hopefully not China. The only grain-free canned diet that I’m aware of that sources rabbit in the US is Hound and Gatos, and I know they’ve had some trouble finding domestic rabbit. Some other manufacturers of grain-free rabbit diets source from New Zealand, which I consider okay.

      Reply
    • S. Crews
      April 4, 2013 at 4:52 pm (4 years ago)

      Caren, Nature’s Variety Instinct makes a rabbit based protein food that is supposed to be one of the better one recommended for animals with allergies. I know one of the pet nutritionists is always recommending for patients. My cats were not that crazy for it though, if I remember correctly. But since it comes so highly rated, you might give it a shot. If you have Petco store near you, you can purchase and if he will not eat it, you can then return it.

      Reply
      • Ingrid
        April 4, 2013 at 5:07 pm (4 years ago)

        Nature’s Variety is a good brand, and one I recommend. Be aware, though, that the rabbit in Nature’s Variety’s canned and raw formulas is sourced from China and Italy. They employ a US trained food scientist to oversee rabbit sourcing.

        Reply
  46. Boo
    March 25, 2013 at 7:22 am (4 years ago)

    Agreed. My cat showed signs of early kidney disease and her vet recommended a prescription diet. I asked why and was told that foods high in phosphorous were not good for cats with kidney issues. I tried giving her the prescription diet foods, but she wouldn’t eat them (and yes, they weren’t too kind on my pocket either). I ended up doing my own research on cat foods that were low in phosphorous and found a natural brand (Wellness) with very low levels, as well as very low or no grains, which the kidneys find hard to process. I figured she’s better eating SOMETHING that’s relatively healthy rather than not eating food she doesn’t like at all. She tried it and loves it ! I believe the vet had her best interests at heart, but was a little sceptical, seeing the prescription foods stocked on their shelves that they are encouraged to push to patients. When in doubt, it pays to do your own research.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 25, 2013 at 10:33 am (4 years ago)

      Actually, it’s protein that can get harder for the kidneys as they deteriorate, which is why the veterinary prescription diets are low in protein as well as phosphorus. However, there is controversy about this approach. For more on kidney failure and diet, please read http://consciouscat.net/2011/10/17/kidney-failure-and-diet-in-cats/

      I’m glad you found a low phosphorus option to the veterinary diets, Boo. All my best to your kitty!

      Reply
  47. janeray1940
    March 25, 2013 at 1:50 am (4 years ago)

    Thank you for putting this info out there. I learned about the problems with prescription diets too late, after my boy cat Mischa became ill after eating a dry prescription diet for UTIs. It was only after Mischa died that I realized that – much like human doctors! – in general vets know little to nothing about nutrition. During the years Mischa was on the UTI prescription food, he suffered from gastrointestinal distress that several vets said was just “typical” of cats; I now believe he had feline triaditis. Whether or not the prescription food caused it, I will never know; I am certain, though, that it exacerbated it.

    Reply
    • Ingrid
      March 25, 2013 at 9:04 am (4 years ago)

      I’m sorry about your Mischa. While you’ll never know whether the diet contributed to his GI issues, it really blows my mind that a vet would simply accept these issues as “typical of cats.”

      Reply

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