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Wish us luck… (vet says, diet change for kids, NOW!)

Home Forums Srs stuff Wish us luck… (vet says, diet change for kids, NOW!)

This topic contains 17 replies, has 3 voices, and was last updated by  Shepmom 1 year, 2 months ago.

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  • #51872 Reply

    prysma
    Keymaster

    Okiedokie, soooo…

    Cory-Bear can has a few immune issues, and has been on prednisolone off and on, mostly on, for a long time. We’ve been struggling with his weight for about that long – it WILL NOT go down! Vets mostly have said things like, “We need to get him on a weight loss diet” (nope – he’s allergic to wheat and corn) and “Just reduce his overall food intake” (right – with Trick underweight and all three cats screaming at us).

    Trick has also been on pred, much higher dose, for what’s either lymphoma or IBS – upsets his tummy so he can’t keep food down, and pred helps. Very very important not to interrupt this.

    Well…. pred went on backorder. So, liquid formula for the nawt-sekkund time. Trick, not thrilled. Cory, cooperative as always.

    And yet, what should be same dose…

    Cory, suddenly much more active and hyper and playful, right away and ongoing!! LOVE this!! Also, eating less! Haven’t seen him having so much fun in a long time, like, several times a day, “Play with meeeee!”

    And then, after about 3 weeks… Trick throws up. Twice. No hairball, just acid, like before he went on the pred.

    So, email vet with details. She calls back, says, “Okay, weird, shouldn’t happen but obviously something’s up, let’s get Trick back on tablets, they just came in. Cory… we could see about dropping his pred entirely.”

    I decide I’d rather she sees Cory first – he’s mostly been seeing another vet at the same practice (long story). I actually like this one better, and Trick and Freya have both seen her, so consistent view of the family.

    Well… he’s looking good in lots of ways, but his weight is up AGAIN. Significantly.

    He’s heading fast for diabetic, basically. He’s getting older and we have GOT to get his weight down.

    So, we’re keeping him on the liquid pred til it runs out, and lowering the dose even of that. If any allergy/immune stuff flares, we’ll watch for it. Meanwhile, more active is goodgood.

    The bit that’s gonna piss everyone off:

    We have to phase out the crunchifuds. Completely. Or as close to it as possible. And we need to try to do this SOON.

    Basically, she says, some cats do fine on crunchifuds. Some cats, which she calls “true carnivores,” not so much. She thinks Cohy’s a “true carnivore” and his body just has no idea what to do with all the extra stuff in even super-high-quality dry food so it stores it.

    They’ve been getting crunchies available 24/7 and wet food 2 or 3 times a day forever. Cory is a fussy monster and eats wet food a bit inconsistently. Switching to no (or very minimal) crunchies, and feeding them in separate rooms so each is getting what they’re supposed to be getting and that’s it…

    Oh CC help us, this is not going to make our purrkids at all happy for a while. I mean, if it helps them feel healthier in the long run, great. If we can keep Cory from ending up diabetic, awesome. But they are NOT gonna like this!!!!

    On the other hand, at least she’s happy with how he looks overall. :-) So that’s something.

    #51896 Reply

    Shepmom

    Oh deer Prysma….yoo habs mai grate respekt and sympafees for doing dis. Ai habs had furkids wif dietary issues before too, but nebber moar dan wun atta tiem.

    Hang in dere — de peese ob mind frum improoved helf will moar dan offset de struggles ob foodifying dem individually. It wills become just anudder rooteen after a whilol.

    Yoo am a fantastic kitty mawm and yoo cans do dis!

    #51897 Reply

    maryqos
    Moderator

    huh, ai thot ai sed sumfin butt mus bee knot. ai juss waz saein taht Cory & sibs luckie tew haev consheenshious mama! taht taeks a guud bit uf will powder tew sai “noe noe kittehs for teh nawt elebenty fiffth thyme yu knaawt haev teh guddies yu ar deemanding”

    #51898 Reply

    prysma
    Keymaster

    Fanx for suppports n cheering section! Cats and diet… is enough to make you apply head to wall.

    We gonna have to go slowly – cannot risk pushing and having Fussyboy aka Cory decide all wet food is evil. All the ones he likes are more high-carb than the vet wants (mostly low teens, she wants max 10% average), but if I have to swap them first to more junky gushifuds to get them used to no crunchies and then edge back towards better gushifuds, okay. I’m srsly expecting this to take weeks if not months.

    Apparently dry food, even good stuff, is sprayed with animal digest, which is a bit like MSG in humans – it’s a super-strong flavour and they often get addicted to it and nothing without it tastes right. Vet calls it “cheating”. Plus texture izza thing for cats.

    Oh, and possibly both Cory’s “calicivirus” and “eosinophilic granuloma” were both misdiagnoses (by vets at the same practice, ones I generally trust). Calici does NOT do flareups (he’s had 3 or 4 bouts, none lately thank CC) so it should have been re-evaluated after it recurred, she thinks it’s a feline herpes virus instead, and the biopsy results for the EG were much less definitive than we were told. He DOES seem to have autoimmune issues, but it’s not nearly that clear-cut, and that was the reason he’s been on pred for months n months. Grrr.

    This gonna be a loooong winter…

    #51899 Reply

    Shepmom

    Jus ‘member — de munfs and munfs are to reech MAXIMUM benefit. Ebbryfing yoo duz, howsumebber so small it seems, wills hab a cumulative goodgoodgood effect along de way.

    #51957 Reply

    prysma
    Keymaster

    So, how’re we doing? (If ennywun innerested… yep, know it’s long. Sorry. Novelist… no good at brevity.)

    Decided that scheduled strict meals, separated from each other, which vet suggetsed doing first, would actually stress our trio out and make them more resistant, and remove a big advantage. Every household is different, obviously. So we rethunk it.

    They should be getting, between 3 cats, with no crunchies, 6 Fancy-Feast sized cans per day.

    Current strategy: bribe them with enough gushifud, spaced thru the day at regular times, and reduce the amount of crunchies gradually. Basically, shift the focus more and more, without doing any sudden dramatic changes.

    And keeping them together? Cory’s a couple months older than Freya, but he solicits attention and grooming from her like a kitten from Momcat, especially since Angel crossed the Bridge… and he’ll sometimes do things he sees her doing. If SHE is happily eating the gushifuds…!

    Trick thinks this is the most awesome evolution ever, and he probably wouldn’t care if we made the crunchies vanish for good. Partly that’s because there are some junk gushifuds creeping in, to keep them (Bear) interested. I’ll worry about quality later. Partly, since he’s an older guy, he might just find it easier to eat.

    Freya’s quite enjoying it. She grabs a bit of crunchies in the morning after her breakfast gushifuds, usually before I can get the crunchies transferred into the ball where she’d have to work at it, and maybe a bit overnight. We offered them a sample of a freeze-dried food and she loved it, but the boys weren’t interested. Hmm, maybe…

    And Cory, the reason for all this?

    Is actually being more cooperative than I expected, so far. (Only been a few days!)

    They get junk food for breakfast around 7:30-8am, with meds… grilled stuff in gravy, that kind of thing. Also, this is when I do the crunchies, and Bear always wants some.

    Around 1pm, they get FF pate (low carb) with FF elegant medlets gushie high-gravy stuff (Cory’s fave) mixed – and I put Cory’s bowl as close as possible to today’s nap site. He’d rather eat gushifuds, if he likes it, than trek aaallll the way across the room to the crunchies. LOL Trick and Freya steal each other’s back and forth, Trick may get a bit more than Freya but she gets enough.

    Around 6:30pm, they get a healthier grain-free food with Trick’s meds.

    Around 11pm-ish when I crash, they get a can of some sort of pate, even Frishies or something, and it’s in the shallow plastic bin that the (now single) crunchiball lives in. Go to get midnight crunchies, and there’s gushies RightThereInReach, especially if they run out of crunchies overnight. And actually, even with reduced crunchies, there’s often some left in the morning.

    Soooo… I think it’s safe to say we’re going in the right direction! There’s been some slightly loose bowel movements, but not dangerously runny. There’s more pee in the litter box, but less water vanishing from the fountain and the cup, which makes sense. A bit of food’s getting tossed, but less than I was afraid there’d be. They’re eating most of it. (Especially Trick the cleaning crew!)

    Need to dig out my people-scale, do the terrifying act of checking my own weight (after 9 months of stress- and depression-induced weight gain), then weighing self holding Bear, so I can see how his weight is going. Won’t be accurate but at least a general idea.

    By the way, he is STILL hyper and playful and alert and looking for a LOT of interaction. He kept me up until TWO AY-EM because he hunted a fluttery bug around midnight and then was so wired he wouldn’t stop whappitifying things every time I tried to straighten my bed and get in it (not attacking me… just pouncing sheets, play-string left on bed, that sort of thing). Right now, he’s passed out on the bed next to me, belly full, having had two vigorous bouts with a string and one enthusiastic towel-over-hand bunnykick wrestling session along with breakfast and a short trip outside in the past 3 hours. This is a LOT of activity for him, and he’s not in one of his secluded hidey-hole nests. I love seeing him like this, he’s so happy!

    #51978 Reply

    Shepmom

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay! Sounds like a plan is in place, and everyone is doing fine so far — including owr deer Prysma! Go Mama Prysma!

    #52244 Reply

    maryqos
    Moderator

    bin wunnerin hao taht noo dyet goein dere PK?

    #52247 Reply

    prysma
    Keymaster

    Sorry – nawt got nasty stuffs like yours to deal wif, but havin a ruff week wif mood stuff an wurryin bowt munnies. This be teh emeow I sended to teh v-e-t this moarnin wif a 2-week uppitydaet. I too lazy to retype stuffs. Been thinking love n hugs and beems at you, mary, an asking CC to just ease teh bleep up alreddy!
    -=-=-=-=-=-

    Hi, just wanted to send an update on the diet change to all wet food. Home number to look up the file is ##########. I know you’re busy, and this isn’t urgent at all.

    Quick answer, before the long details: we’re getting there!

    At this point, we’ve managed to flip the schedule around entirely: they have wet food available all the time and dry food comes in very small amounts (gradually reducing how much) on a set schedule. We’ve noticed that they’re drinking much less water than usual, and the overall volume in the litter-box has gone up perceptibly, starting very soon after we switched. At least two had loose bowel movements for a few days, but not extreme and it resolved itself.

    We’re a bit concerned about Trick. After several times going through the motions of vomiting, but bringing up little or nothing, he brought up a substantial amount of matted fur. We hoped that was the whole problem, but he’s still obviously not feeling great and threw up a very small amount of food. He has cat grass to eat, and he has been. He’s also been extremely hungry, but he has very little interest in dry food when he has wet available, so he has plenty to eat. We’re giving him Cerenia every 48 hours at the moment, and have been for a bit over a week. Diet change? Hairball? Whatever was going on with the prednisolone liquid? We’re watching him.

    Checking weights hit a stumbling block: the old scale we had here is a mechanical one that works very poorly and we couldn’t get any kind of consistent reading. We now have a digital one – meant for humans, but we’re going to test whether it might work for the cats alone, maybe in a pre-weighed box. One way or another, we’ll start getting relative weights on all three. Freya could stand to lose a little and we don’t want Trick losing any!

    Everyone IS eating. We decided that separating them would be a bad plan because it would lose a major advantage: even though Cory and Freya are the same age, he solicits grooming from her like a kitten, and he often follows her lead when faced with something new. Since we were pretty sure Freya would accept the diet change fairly readily, we wanted to make sure Cory could copy her. I’m also a bit reluctant to try forcing them to eat a large amount of wet food all in a very short time – I’ve had rescue cats who felt they had to gulp their food rapidly when they had the chance, and it hasn’t generally been good. One of them was Cory’s “foster-mom” Angel and she may have given him a bit of anxiety about that. (When we tried just reducing the dry food straight out, he freaked out and gorged himself.) Since I can’t work, I’m home all the time and I can supervise mealtimes.

    So, right now: 8am, a can of Fancy Feast split between them. (Unfortunately higher-carb gravy stuff, but I’ll work on that detail later.) Less than a tablespoon of kibble each, which Cory gobbles, Freya eats in 2-3 sessions a few minutes apart, and Trick picks at so it’s well away in a place he likes but Cory doesn’t go on his own. The Fancy Feast disappears over the next couple of hours, and putting the bowls where they’re going to take their morning nap after playtime means they’re largely just eating their own without intervention.

    1pm, one Fancy Feast pate split 3 ways with 1 can of gravy FF on top or mixed in, and the same small amount of kibble. Pretty much the same thing happens. There’s usually, in total, about half a can’s worth of food left by the next mealtime, when I toss it. And, again, knowing where they’re going to have their afternoon nap helps. At this point in the day, Cory has always been willing to eat wet food in easy reach rather than going in search of dry elsewhere.

    6pm, one can of grain-free Performatrin Ultra (Pet Valu’s good line) wet food. I haven’t got carb levels for this, unfortunately. Split 3 ways, with that small bit of kibble. Same behaviour. This generally gets finished, or nearly so, by the next mealtime, but more slowly. All three are eating their own, unless there’s any remaining at next mealtime, and I leave this one for anyone who wants it to finish.

    11pm, 2 cans of Fancy Feast pate, different flavours, are out overnight, with that small bit of kibble for Cory and Freya, but Trick doesn’t eat his and Cory will wreak havoc to reach it, so we’re now going to skip that. The FF is never completely gone by morning, there’s anywhere from 1/2 to a whole can’s worth to toss. I sleep shallowly and the food is in my room where they spend most of their time, and I know all three are in it through the night, but I can’t say how much relatively.

    We started with a tablespoon of dry each time (4x a day = about 1/4 of a cup, which is on the low end of what they were averaging) and we’re gradually reducing how much they get. At this point, instead of dry 24/7 and looking forward to wet 3x/day on a schedule, they’re getting used to wet fresh 4x/day, and a treat of dry 4x/day on a schedule.

    Cory is starting to get cranky about the switch. Yesterday he hunted and ripped open a bag of Temptations treats that hadn’t been put away properly – luckily there wasn’t much left in it. He tried to shoulder Freya away from her kibble last night. He woke me 90 minutes early this morning to tell me he was starving to death, and got frustrated that I wouldn’t get up and feed him. But overall, he’s been more cooperative than I was afraid he would be, and I honestly think a lot of that is because Freya and Trick are taking to it so enthusiastically. He IS eating the wet food, even if some of it is unhealthy higher-carb stuff. He’s still playful and alert and affectionate. I’ve been using playtime to distract him when he goes looking for dry food where it used to be, and playing with him at other times too, and that seems to help too. It’s only been two weeks, and we’ve gotten farther than I was expecting.

    I think the next step is going to be to keep dropping the amount of dry, aiming for just a few symbolic pieces as a kind of treat, rather than dropping him cold turkey right away. I think it’s as much about the routine for him as it is the food itself. We’ll probably stop Trick’s dry altogether in the next couple of days, since he prefers the wet and it’s probably easier for him to digest anyway. Freya is much less addicted than Cory but she considers a bit in the morning part of her routine – we’ll likely stop hers one meal at a time over a week or so, maybe leaving breakfast for the moment.

    They’re all eating less than the suggested two 3oz cans a day (about 1.5 each, varying a little day to day). That’s despite having flavours they like available, but they are still getting at least a small bit of dry, so maybe that will change. Also, the Ultra is pretty dense stuff, they like it but tend to eat smaller amounts in more sessions rather than higher volumes with the Fancy Feast. With the amount we’re discarding, it’ll stay whatever Fancy Feast flavours they like for the time being, until things stabilize, then I’ll look at exactly which foods and flavours they’re eating and adjust accordingly.

    I know this is long. Sorry! Trying to include everything I can think of that might be relevant to give you a picture of what’s happening! Thanks so much for everything!

    #52248 Reply

    maryqos
    Moderator

    Those kitties are lucky to have you as a mama. You are so very careful with your furry children. Sounds like going pretty well!

    #52323 Reply

    prysma
    Keymaster

    V-E-T called on Munday, to talk about how teh kids am duin. She hazza bigbigbig pleazed wif hao it goin. She sez even if we cannawt get them 100% off teh crunchies, changing fings so teh most of their diet be gushies, that will halp lots. An she sez what we duin, wurking WIF teh kids insted uv tryin to force a change, that be teh awsum an purrfect. I rly has a surprised hao well it be wurking, tu tell you teh troof.

    Trick’s tummy haz settloled daon. We gibbed him “great-tasting” (ha!) hairball goo on Caturday an Bunday, an that musta halped sumfin pass that was irritating him. V-E-T had a concerned but nao haz a relieved but sez if it starts again, bring him in. Plz CC, nawt till at least Jan, our budget stretched thin!

    Gnuest game: when Bear and Freya get crunchies, then I (for Bear) or Jackie (for Freya) make it a game. They get crunchies one atta time, an we put them in different spots around them or give them by hand. Nawt up to actually chasing or hunting them yet, and nawt sure Cory’s vision is good enough fur that (when baby, we hadda wurried he mite be blind… his brain and all adapted, but still nawt so good sumthymes tracking some movement, unless it are a fluttery bug…). We’ll see. Even making it a low-energy game keeps it fun and interactive and slows them down a lot so it seems like moar crunchies. LOL Trick still wanting some occasionally, but can has zero interest in game! Also, duin this, teh crunchies get all finished at wunce, nun left around fur ennywun to poach eggstras. :-)

    So far, so good! Mebbe we get teh Cory-Bear daon to leen meen bug-catchin skwirrl-chasin macheen by neggst spring? (After all, he teh only wun who chased teh skwirrl at all…)

    #52324 Reply

    Shepmom

    Yay — am sooooo glad to heer dat dis am goings well!! {{{{{PK and famblee}}}}

    #52325 Reply

    maryqos
    Moderator

    ai hazza admirinashin fore yur digilinse!
    guud jobs!

    #52427 Reply

    prysma
    Keymaster

    Not sure I feel much like a good mom, since Cory’s weight got this high to begin with, but anyway…

    Cory’s had a bad snuffly nose for over a week. Despite what I am sure he would like me to think, it is not due to crunchie deprivation. (Dramabear…) It hasn’t happened in quite a while, but it has before. Other kids okay and no outside exposure, so probably is flareup of chronic stuff. Starting to settle now. When he gets stressed he pulls fur out, and he started doing that, so we eased up on the reduce-the-crunchies thing. We aren’t increasing it, but holding steady at the same level. We’ll look at resuming lowering it once he gets over this. Do not want to add further stress and slow recovery and add to fur-plucking!

    Trick has been throwing up, a bit worryingly. Generally not bringing up much tho. Hairball goo seems to help but not totally. We had started giving him glucosamine powder (meant for humans) coz he will not eat glucosamine treats (his hips, left esp, seem to get stiff in winter these days), but we’re stopping now to see if that might be contributing. If he keeps throwing up, time to dig into emergency fund and take him back to the v-e-t. Fingers crosst! He otherwise is acting perfectly normally… er, for Trick, anyway.

    Jackie splorted this morning over Cory. He was in living room, not on my bed waiting. I scooped him up and settled down in comfy chair with him in the crook of my left arm and fed him crunchies one at a time with my other hand. He snuggled in close and purred like mad. Jackie wanted to get video but, er, I was only wearing a shawl coz I just got up, so… yeah. She said he looked like a furry version of a baby about to start nursing. LOL

    #52428 Reply

    maryqos
    Moderator

    Babybear!
    no furr pullin dere yu.
    Trick trie an keep teh stuffs inn….

    #52914 Reply

    prysma
    Keymaster

    Just gottid back frum v-e-t wif Cory-Bear.

    Nawt-sekkund, teh gud gnus: he has losted a whole pound!!! V-e-t very pleazed bout that.

    Nao teh less grate gnus (/lolspeak):

    Took him up because bad sniffles for weeks. Figures the snot stopped the day before his appointment, but turns out, there’s still inflammation up there.

    Is not bacterial infection. She’s pretty sure it’s a herpesvirus flareup, Maybe because the diet change threw his system off. His immune system’s been slow to get a grip on it but seems to be doing so now.

    Fur-pulling maybe stress, maybe allergies. He’s eating his share of 2 cans of gravy-ish noms, not 1, which has wheat gluten which we know he doesn’t react well to. *sigh* Doesn’t help the apartment is closed up tight (as much as we can, with these windows) so more dust around, less fresh air, that kind of thing. Got vaporizer running to keep air from being horribly dry.

    Tried giving him 1/2 tablet of prednisolone to see if it helped his itching. Nope, but his appetite went dramatically up and his playing went dramatically down. Appparently he is VERY sensitive.

    There’s an option called cyclosporin that could probably help his immune issues, but it would be an ongoing thing and it’s super-expensive and we can barely keep up as it is.

    So…

    I came home with more prednisolone for Trick, since it helps him, probiotics for Bear because it might help his immune system maybe-could-be, drops for Bear’s nose ’cause he’s still swollen and inflamed inside, and Bear is supposed to get some of Trick’s anti-inflammatory Cerenia for a bit, to see if that helps him. And I left them with lots of our munnies. *sigh*

    And keep up with the diet, and email her in a week or so and tell her how it’s going, and keep up with looking for a scale that will actually work so we can monitor weights! (Current one, which my mom gave us before she moved, is electronic… we replaced the battery, and it told me that I gained about 2kg from taking off my sweater and going to the bathroom, not a typo… srsly, do not think it works.)

    With Trick, we’ve discovered that we HAVE to keep crunchies in his tummy to keep him from throwing up. Trying to encourage him to eat it when he likes gushies better, and keep Bear and Freya eating gushies when they want crunchies, is enough to make you crazy!

    By the way, we discovered that a cheap basic baby aspirator, a little suction bulb with a narrow nozzle on the end, works on cats. Cory likes the effects enough that he learned to come ask for it when his nose was a mess!

    How do I always end up with cats who have chronic health issues?

    #52915 Reply

    maryqos
    Moderator

    Yu end up wif dem bekaws yuze gals hazza bigg harts an beuteful soles. (top uf feet nawt bad eether-sorrie fore teh groaner joke-serious bowt teh soles)
    ai dunnoe wen yu putt up de messije bowt teh monies, ai juss saw sew dat wai sew long tew anser-unless it juss wend up-den…..neber mynd mai ramblin….ai hazza grateful mai kittehs ar reletivelee well-
    ai did notyse waht luks lyke a drie spawt awn Ronnie’s thiegh, ai chek again maibe ai maekin it up.
    (if’in yu kneed moer uf teh monies, yu lett us noe akawse lukit awl teh joi yu bring tew us peeps!)

    #52937 Reply

    Shepmom

    Wut MQ sed….wii can awl halps a littlol bit and wills add up….
    Beleeb mii, ai gnoes frum eggspensib animlols!

    Glad to heer dat dere are at leest plans in place…hoping awl goes well!

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