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Old 09-20-2012, 05:06 PM
Location: Kansas City area
43 posts, read 420,698 times
Reputation: 80


Does anyone have cats with a finicky appetite? If so, can you please list any successful tasty wet food that your cat enjoys? Keep in mind that my cat used to enjoy Meow Mix Tender Favorites. He likes the saucy, gravy kind of treats. He's not loving it the way he used to.

I will give everyone the details of what I am dealing with below, in case someone can offer some help or insight. It's long, so get comfortable and maybe grab a bag of popcorn.

Simon is 8 years old. Back in March, when I took him in for his annual exam, he was a healthy 14 lbs. He is big cat (as in long with big paws) and the vet said the 14 lbs was a good weight for him; it was evenly distributed. He is a very active cat and everything looked good in terms of the physical exam. He free feeds on Science Diet adult food. I sprinkle Hills T/D on top to keep the teeth healthy. He gets about 1/3 of a container of Meow Mix every evening when I get home as a treat. Heís never been a fan of dry treats. The vet recommended that I switch to a mature adult food because of his age. Soon after the appointment, I switched to Science Diet mature adult. Simon loved it. In fact, he was eating so much of it that I honestly wondered if he would start gaining too much weightÖ.that never happened.

Around June, I noticed that Simonís eating had slowed down. It didnít seem like he was going through his food at all. I didnít think too much of itÖmaybe it was the heat. He seemed happy and his behavior was normal. The second week in July, I got a new area rug for a hardwood floor and a new chair for the living room. I had to rearrange the furniture to accommodate the new chair. Three weeks after that, Simon pooped on the carpet. I wasnít sure what to think because it was 3 weeks afterwards. So, I waited to see if anything else would happen. A week later, he pooped on the carpet again. But in that time, I had noticed that he had not pooped in the litter box for an entire week. I thought maybe he was constipated and thatís why he pooped on the carpet. I called the vet. Over the next two weeks (August 3-16th) and with the help of the vet and staff, I tried a variety of foods and such to help with constipation (laxatone, pumpkin, Science Diet for hairballs, and finally W/D which my vet said high in fiber). He got to a point where he wouldnít eat at all, he was losing weight, and withdrawing from me. On 8/16, I took him to the vet. His physical exam came back fine (teeth fine, no pain in the abdomen, stool in one place in his bowel and about to pass, temp normal). But we realized that he had lost 3 lbs since March. So the vet ran blood work to make sure his organs were functioning okay. According to the vet, that came back fine too (some levels were elevated but not of concern). The vet said he was pre-diabetic and I should keep him on W/D. The vet said that he thought Simon was stressed because of my new rug/chair and that I should get rid of it.

I know heís a vet but I also know my cat. Simon didnít seem stressed. After the vet visit, his eating improved for the following week (as did bowel movementsÖin the litterbox) but then slowed down again. In desperation, I re-arranged my furniture to a configuration that might be more Simon friendly and I bought a Feli-Way diffuser to help (if stress was the issue). He lost more weight. I called the vet and he said I should go to a specialist because he couldnít help any more. I began to realize that Simon wasnít constipated. He wasnít eating; therefore, he wasnít producing enough waste for regular bowel movements. On 8/31, I took Simon to the ER vet/specialists in my area. I had a consult from a vet in internal medicine. She looked at the same labs that my vet looked at and interpreted them differently. She said that Simon had kidney disease but wasnít pre-diabetic. She said it was a good chance there was in infection that was causing him loss of appetite. I had to haggle with her about what the best tests would be to run because I am a student and couldnít really pay for all of the tests at once. I needed to be strategic about it which ones we did first. Honestly, the money that I was already spending for the consult was part of my saving for the semester. She did an ultrasound, a blood pressure check, and a urine culture. All came back fine. She then recommended a blood test for his thyroid. She said she detected a thyroid slip during the physical exam but cats with thyroid problems are usually ravenous vs. not hungry. She still recommended the test because it could account for the loss in appetite. At the time (about 4 days after the exam when she called me with the urine culture results), I decided to wait because Simonís eating had improved.

Apparently, itís called angry eatingÖwhen cats eat after vet appointments. I only realize this now because the eating has again dwindled and heís down to 9.5 lbs. He eats but not very much. The weird thing is, he seems hungry. He will beg for turkey when I make a turkey sandwich but won't eat his food. In case you are wondering, I have tried SEVERAL foods without success but posted the initial request (at top) in case I missed something. I called the vet and am taking Simon in tomorrow morning for the thyroid test. She said if that comes back negative, the next step would be a GI scope and biopsy. She said itís about $1200. I canít afford that, but canít watch Simon waste away to nothing. Itís so frustrating and heartbreaking because even if I do that, I am not guaranteed answers. I am kind of a mess right now.

Sorry this was so long, but I wanted to give you all of the details in case someone had any ideas.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:33 PM
1,950 posts, read 2,864,832 times
Reputation: 3172
The best advice I can give you is to educate your self on cat nutrition. And I don't mean this in any kind of snarky way! Check out Feeding Your Cat: Know the Basics of Feline Nutrition :: healthy cat diet, making cat food, litter box, cat food, cat nutrition, cat urinary tract health for a ton of info on cats and nutrition. When I first joined city data looking for help, a very nice poster on the cat forum(Thank you Trav'ler!) directed me to this web site by a DVM, Lisa Pierson. She has sooo much helpful info on there.

The other thing I would do is get your cat off Science Diet food! That is one of the worst foods out there. Cats should be on a canned food diet that is free of grains and glutens. The web site will explain it much better than I can.

I wish you both the best of luck. Please come back and let us all know how the vet appt. goes. In the mean time you could try some Fancy Feast canned food in the Classic line. This is approved for diabetic cats because of the low carbs it contains. FF is also considered kitty crack because so many cats love it. Right now it is important that he eats, so this might jump start his appetite.
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:44 PM
Status: "I Don't Believe You- Pink" (set 4 days ago)
696 posts, read 1,015,368 times
Reputation: 854
This has happened with my kitties over the years. Thankfully it was transient, and sometimes even (the lack of appetitite) resulting from an eye allergy or other things not requiring invasive care- which is a whole other deal, imo.

On the perscription, professional level, Science Diet AD was recommended. It was not so much.

I had better luck with baby food, in the small glass containers, no garlic, chicken or turkey formula. I always keep some here, just in case.

I am not familiar with the poster's above suggestion- and I would certainly look at the FF classic.

Best of luck!

PS rereading the post- my kitties crave turkey breast, but not chicken- usually at crisis times I don't have that available so go with the turkey baby food as above...
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Old 09-20-2012, 10:49 PM
Location: California
28,837 posts, read 29,406,172 times
Reputation: 23671
My kitties only like fish and beef, they turn their nose up at chicken and turkey cat food for whatever reason.

Anyway, I hate to see a cat loosing weight like that. In my experience it's always the beginning of the end, although in one case "the end" took nearly 6 years. The little thing just kept loosing and loosing and weighed nothing at the end but was always a happy and apparently pain free the whole time, and lived to be 16.
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Old 09-21-2012, 02:22 AM
Location: Kansas City area
43 posts, read 420,698 times
Reputation: 80
Thank you, everyone, for your thoughts and advice.

The website that ouijeewoman recommended was a gold mine of information. One thing (among many) that the DVM that operates the site mentioned, was to use FortiFlora as a way to enhance food for picky eaters. I completely forgot that I had some. When I lived in TX, I had this awesome vet that recommended using it. I put that on some food tonight and Simon wolfed it down. I still don't have an answer as to why his appetite has decreased, but it felt good to see him eat like normal again. I am going to check out some of the other food options that you all mentioned as well.

I will keep you posted on how the lab results come back.
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Old 09-21-2012, 08:56 AM
5,492 posts, read 10,519,215 times
Reputation: 7199
I am sorry to read about your beloved Simon. I recommend you have an ultrasound done. Without wanting to scare you, this sounds like a tumor of some sort. Rally your friends to collect their unwanted stuff, and have a yard sale to raise some money.

All paws crossed for your Simon.
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Old 09-21-2012, 09:34 AM
Location: Chapel Hill, N.C.
36,008 posts, read 37,908,928 times
Reputation: 45797
I too offer support and have been a struggling student with pet medical bills.

If he is not barfing then you can be pretty sure it isn't IBD. My 17 lb Oscar got down to less than 9 but over about 3 years. just slow enough so I could not tell. He has IBD and eats an expensive RX rabbit food. But I also suggest no more Science Diet or any dry food. When your cat eliminates in the wrong places he is telling you "HEY, I need help here" and you listened but apparently the first vet didn't know too much about cat nutrition.
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Old 09-21-2012, 11:08 AM
Location: Virginia
575 posts, read 1,372,326 times
Reputation: 834
I too recommend a diet change. Though you mentioned that you have switched food several times (and this too can cause problems) many many vets are just not on par with nutritional needs. Science Diet is crap. Plain and Simple. And don't fall for any RX diet they try to shove down your throat because it's all junk - they have a book in the back and they cross reference a few symptoms and bang - here's a magic (and espensive!!) cure for you. The ingredients are usually worse than store bought Purina.

A "senior formula" is usually low protein Which anyone who has read an article in the past 5 years knows that low protein diets for senior felines due to renal failure or stress is NO LONGER recommended. And if you look at the back of a bag and compare an "indoor or weight management" to "regular" the sodium and/or calorie count is nearly the same only you pay more money. It's all a money grab so just don't go there.

What you need is a GOOD diet plain and simple with good protein sources and NO GARBAGE ingredients. For renal trouble you need WATER intake. CANNED food is what your best bet is going to be.

A blood sugar test is the only way to know if your cat is hypoglycemic (pre-diabetic) or diabetic there is NO WAY to have an interpretation of kidney function or liver function of blood sugar The hematology is what it is. If you know what your test results were this will be useful for you. I do think that while you may not need to have THE MOST expensive tests, sometimes several "smaller tests" end up costing as much, if not more, than one expensive test. Ask the specialist what His top two or three possible "choices for disease are - see if a test can rule in or out all of them? Personally I think you may be looking at renal failure or some sort of cancer given the symptoms IMHO

Feline CRF Information Center - Tests & Diagnostics - to help interpret for renal failure

Feline Normal Values
Glucose 70-120 mg/dl
BUN 17-30 mg/dl
Creatinine 0.6-1.6 mg/dl
Total Protein 5.3-7.2 g/dl
Albumin 2.6-3.9 g/dl
Calcium 9.4-11.2 mg/dl
Phosphorus 4.0-7.0 mg/dl
Alkaline Phosphatase 20-220 U/L
GGT 0-10.0 U/L
AST 8-35 U/L
LDH 35-280 U/L
Cholesterol 90-150 mg/dl
Total Billirubin .08-.30 mg/dl
ALT 10-130 U/L
Amylase not valid U/L
CPK 20-160 U/L
CO2 17-24 mEq/L
Triglycerides 20-100 mg/dl
Direct Billirubin 0-0.30 mg/dl
Ur Acid 0-1.0 mg/dl
Sodium 143-153 mEq/L
Potassium 3.5-5.2 mEq/L
Chloride 108-128 mEq/L
Lipase 120-258 U/L
Globulins 1.5-4.0 g/dl
A/G 0.56-2.6
AGAP 5-30
HgB 80-150 g/L
Hct 0.24-0.45 L/L
RBC 5.0-10.0 x106/ul
MCV 39-55 fl
MCH 13-17 pg
MCHC 30-36 g/dl
Retic 0-1%
WBC 5.5-19.5 x1000/ul
Segs 2.5-12.5 x1000/ul
Bands 0.0-0.3 x1000/ul
Eos. 0.0-1.5 x1000/ul
Lympho. 1.5-7.0 x1000/ul
Monos. 0.0-0.85 x1000/ul
Plat. 3-7 x100000/ul
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Old 09-22-2012, 04:01 PM
Location: Houston, TX
2,370 posts, read 5,012,059 times
Reputation: 6190
I have a cat who has problems with her liver and she used to eat a food a couple of times and then just stop eating it. I finally found a couple she will eat consistently and that I can live with the ingredients.

Earthborn and Wellness Core

The canned ones of course.
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Old 09-22-2012, 07:31 PM
Location: Kansas City area
43 posts, read 420,698 times
Reputation: 80
Thanks again for everyone's input. Here is the most recent update (as well as answering some questions that have been posed).

The internal medicine specialist ruled out thyroid (the final test she wanted to do). Since I cannot afford the $1200 GI scope, she recommended starting him on Prednisone to see if his appetite improves. She said the GI scope/biopsy would help her diagnose IBD, intestinal lymphoma, and esophageal problems and that I would see improvements if his problems were the first two (IBD or IL).

I don't have the labs in front of me, so I can't give you actual values but here is where the "interpretation" thing comes in. Simon's creatinine levels were not flagged by the lab because they were within normal ranges that the lab operates by and therefore, my regular vet didn't flag this as a concern. However, the specialist said anything over 1.6 is indicative of kidney disease. Simon's blood glucose was slightly elevated (which led my vet to call him pre-diabetic) but the specialist thought this was just due to the stress of the blood test. His urine came back with some blood and protein in it. My regular vet thought this was due to collection error but the specialist was concerned. She did a urine culture that came back negative. She wants to do a urine protein test eventually (to help her determine if we need to anything else besides diet for the kidney disease) but she said that won't help her diagnose the appetite loss so it's not an necessary test at the moment.

An ultrasound was performed and everything came back okay. His kidneys are small but that is typical of CRF patients. Blood pressure okay. Thyroid okay. No urinary or bladder infections.

Right now, I am just trying to get Simon to eat. Thanks to the input, I realize that I need to get him off the Science Diet and switch him to completely canned food. I am trying to integrate and try out other foods. Now, he won't eat even his wet food unless I sprinkle FortiFlora on it. But then he just licks it off and won't consume the food (he walks away once he has licked off all of the FF). So, I am putting the FortiFlora on his dry food to ensure that he is actually consuming calories. Simon wouldn't eat the pill pocket for the steroid until I sprinkled it with FortiFlora. I have also contacted Dr. Lisa Pierson (from catinfo) about a phone consultation.

I will keep you all posted on if things improve. He is so light when I pick him up. It breaks my heart.
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