Kitty IBS

About a year ago (before the move), our older kitty, Little Kitty started throwing up occasionally and having diarrhea.

We took her to the vet.

The vet recommended prescription high fiber food.  She refused to eat it (and so did all our other kitties).  We gave up.  I looked online and found that fancy feast had suddenly started to make many kitties sick, so we stopped giving fancy feast.  We bought high quality one dollar per can catfood.  We switched back to the Purina One sensitive systems catfood we’d kept primarily because it was the only thing that didn’t make our late Big Kitty throw up.

We moved.  Little Kitty started throwing up more and having constant super stinky diarrhea.

We took her to another vet.  The vet diagnosed irritable bowel syndrome.

Step 1:  Try single protein catfood for a week or two.   We went through a number of these.  They did not help.  Mackerel seemed to do better (not perfect), but it was only available at the whole foods several towns away and you’re not supposed to feed cats exclusively on fish.  We also tried human grade food available at the grocery (chicken, beef), but that didn’t help.  In fact, poultry seemed to bring out the worst symptoms.

Step 2:  Try exotic single protein catfood with different carbs (like peas!).  We tried venison.  No luck.  We tried Quail.  No luck.  I think we tried some other birds.  We tried really hard to find a pet shop willing to source rabbit (or kangaroo) in a smaller size than a flat, but although they could order rabbit they kept not ordering it (possibly because rabbits are pets and not catfood, but they didn’t want to you know, flat out refuse.  Or possibly incompetence.)

Nice kitty started losing weight.  We took her back to the vet.

Step 3:  Hydrolyzed prescription hard catfood.  For this they do something to chicken that is like what they do to cow milk in baby formula.  After a couple weeks it seemed to help.  She’s still not perfect, but she throws up less, her poo is more solid (though disturbingly singl-colored).  She’s still skinny, but not frighteningly so.

That, however, is not the end of this story.  More next Monday ($ is involved…)

27 Responses to “Kitty IBS”

  1. Practical Parsimony Says:

    I was diagnosed with IBS but no solutions were offered. Years later, I visited a gastroenterologist for acid reflux. An endoscopy found lesions on my esophagus–eosinophils. These are from an allergy. So, I ws sent to an allergist. It turns out I am allergic to beef and peas, cashews and Brazil nuts.

    I gave up beef and the IBS went away. One day, I was feeling down and at ONE Krystal. I spent the next seven hours screaming and sitting on the commode. So, beef will never pass through my lips again.

    My mother said meat did not pass through my lips for the first six years of my life.
    and I hated green peas!

    Maybe Kitty has an allergy to several things.

  2. AccountantByDay Says:

    I order my dog food from and it is basically the same price as the pet store, and shipping is free, and I don’t have to go to the horrible shopping center that the pet store is in that carries the food:
    Don’t know if the above link will work, but I searched for rabbit and narrowed by Cat food and it seems like they have at least more than 0 options.

    We used to have a cat with food allergies, although his resulted in skin problems, and only to a small extent in digestive troubles.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      The problems are either that I have to buy 50 cans or that they include chicken or pork or liver. So a lot of those cans have rabbit, but they also have another protein. Or occasionally the reviews talk about poor quality control and bad batches.
      #2 is going through trying to fix a kitty skin allergy.

  3. bogart Says:

    Oh no. Poor kitty. Poor kitty owners.

  4. Norwegian Forest Cat Says:

    Oh, poor Little Kitty! Norwegian Forest Kitten was puking really regularly (4-5x/week of gross slimy stuff) and the vet here also said IBS when I took her in a few weeks ago. He sent me home with a few samples (the hydrolyzed protein version from Hills, pea/duck and pea/rabbit from a company called Royal Canin) to try – I would definitely see if your vet will do that, since lots of animals have really strange preferences and different levels of tolerance to trying new stuff. WAY cheaper than trying a big bag of something that your cats hate. These were all bagged cat food kibbles, and he said I could probably still get from PetSmart, etc. but only if I have a written prescription from him. They also make soft food if your kitties prefer/need that. NFK used to eat the oral care kibbles, so she is thrilled that she doesn’t have to chew so much (but we now have to worry about keeping teeth clean).

    The whole point of the weird food is to expose them to something they haven’t eaten before and eliminate the things they may be reactive to. The hydrolyzed stuff just makes the proteins so small that they don’t trigger much of an immune response, apparently (I’m a scientist, but that seems like an oversimplified explanation…?). NFK loved them all, so we went with the one she medium-liked to keep her from binge-eating. The vet mentioned that it’s very important to get these things from an actual vet (or pet store that has a vet) with a prescription, and not to try to save time and buy them on Amazon or whatever because you won’t get the stuff that will actually fix the problem (since they usually spike it with chicken/beef/common stuff to make it cheaply). The prescription stuff is not expensive compared to the $$ we spend on “regular” dog food for Norwegian Forest Giant Dog, and it’s decreased our “ewww, what did I just step in” moments 100%. So, worth it for us so far.

    Hope you can find something that Little Kitty likes that fixes her up!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      We tried the Royal Canin duck! No luck.

      The Hills stuff is what we’re using right now and it seems to work. Except it looks like there’s an underlying problem potentially causing the IBS. More on that next week.

      We actually do get the prescription stuff from Amazon because it comes to our door in two days whereas DH has to drive a long ways to get to the vet a few towns over. It’s the same bag of Hills, sealed.

  5. chacha1 Says:

    *sigh* cats. I am within a couple of weeks of saying goodbye to one of mine. Between Dec 2012 and Nov 2014 she lost a quarter of her body weight. Did a massive dental treatment (despite a diagnosis of kidney failure) then and while she seemed happier/more comfortable, she continued to lose weight. As of now she is down another 30% from the Nov 2014 weight. Her blood work is fine – even the kidney numbers are no worse – and the vet suspects cancer. She wants to eat, eats plenty of things, doesn’t regurgitate very often, eliminates, grooms and behaves normally … just gradually starving to death because she doesn’t eat ENOUGH of anything. Loses interest or forgets. She is about 16 years old. As I told the vet, if she was 8 I would be more aggressive, but because of Reasons we are actually at a point of choosing between our own financial security and trying to “save” this much-loved cat, as simply the tests for cancer or whatever would run into thousands of dollars. So … .

    Our other cat has megacolon and has had two rounds of enemas, etc. in the past four years. They tell us he is in superb condition for a cat with this disorder. He is currently on Royal Canin high-fiber diet, which he likes and which is working very well. He is also around 16 but it looks like he will last a while longer.

  6. Leah Says:

    Poor kitty :-( We had a cat with IBS. She lasted 2-3 more years after diagnosis but really struggled, especially near the end. My mom did order a lot of exotic foods for her. I recall rabbit and duck both worked well for short periods of time, but ultimately nothing worked. She lived the last 6 months of her life in a cage unless one of us sat with her near a towel.

    We also had a cat with diabetes. That’s normally easy to treat in cats, but it did not go well in our kitty. I hope your kitty has a better prognosis than our two.

  7. Linda Says:

    Reading through all of this I’m starting to understand why some people (like Funny about Money) make their own pet food. Yikes! I know you’re super busy, but maybe cooking some rabbit up into cat food would work here. Rabbit isn’t terribly hard to find in Paradise (if your Paradise is the area I think it is).

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Maybe next time we’re at the whole foods a few cities over. We can pick up more mackerel too. One problem with making cat food is you really need a bone grinder for ful nutrition which we don’t have while renting. (Dogs are easier)

  8. gwinne Says:

    Our cat has had similar issues, though not yet to the point of diagnosis. Mostly at this point it’s vomiting, no weight loss. The stinky diarrhea/blood in stool stopped after moving her to a grain-free diet. We use a combo of iams wet food (there’s a particular chicken variety she likes) and a grain free mostly chicken based dry food.

    • chacha1 Says:

      My little sick cat used to regurgitate frequently with mass-market food. I finally switched her to a grain-free diet and it made a world of difference.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        For us grain-free didn’t help. She really does seem to have a massive allergy to chicken (smaller for beef, venison, pork, etc.). Which is sad because chicken is her favorite food in the whole wide world.

      • chacha1 Says:

        Little Diva’s favorite things are: ground bison, cooked in butter; raw milk; pork pot roast. She has had a good life. :-)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        She does have a good life!

        We tried bison/buffalo too (without the butter). :(

  9. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Totally forgot to mention that we tried two kinds of probiotics. Which changed the stench of the poo, but didn’t really fix anything.

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