k/d cat food: dry v/s wet ...

dwmcNovember 28, 2009

I'd been feeding my CRF cat k/d dry for forever, but over the last couple of weeks switched to k/d can (likes it better). Went back to the dry this past week (more economical), but his next couple of poops were totally runny. I'm going back to can, which is fine, but any ideas why dry suddenly causes diarrhea?

Thanks much.

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Wet food is better for the cat. It has more water and mostly protein. I feed wet in the morning and Hill's science Diet Indoor Formula in the evening. Dry is more caloric too.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2009 at 1:10PM
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I expect the runny stools are because you didn't change the diet gradually. My vet says dry food is better for both cats and dogs -- keeps their teeth clean and reduces obesity. (Cats will drink as much water as they need.) I supplement my cat's dry food with a once a week can of tuna mixed with DE and Kelp Meal since they won't eat the dry food with the DE powder on it.

Their diet is also supplemented with rodents and other small animals they catch when they are out.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2009 at 8:59AM
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carmen_grower_2007, your vet is incorrect. Veterinarians are generally not educated in feline nutrition. Those myths are old, wrong, and hard to kill. In the practice to which I take my cats, two vets, though not educated on feline nutrition, are at least supportive of my research and interested in my findings. The third vet refuses to listen. The manufacturer says it's fine so it is, end of story. She's listed me as a bit of a crackpot for my insistence on feeding only healthy foods. She won't admit that my efforts have seen two cats with FLUTD (each a different presentation), another with IBD, and the rest with their own issues, go from 'prescription" diet dependent, still symptomatic, to free of symptoms for (so far) two years AFTER removing grains and kibble (including 'prescription foods') from their diets. It took a lot of research and a huge courage to take them off prescription foods, but it worked.

I'm curious about your supplements, can you tell me what DE is, and what would kelp meal be used for? I've heard of kelp meal but wouldn't know what to do with it. Never heard of DE.

Remember that cats evolved in a desert/savannah environment. They are thus ill equipped to drink water, which was not flowing freely across the desert. They are ill equipped to consume grains, which also weren't to be found in vast quantities. Fish is not a natural food for cats because it's not typically seen in either desert or savannah. Some fish certainly doesn't hurt-cats love the stuff. Cats didn't really evolve to eat venison either but I give mine a bit as a treat.

DOGS will drink as much water as they need. Cats rarely would. Cats derive most of their fluids from the prey that they consume. They do NOT drink the water that they need, even with access to a feline fountain. A cat with a high water intake is already a sick cat. Your own cats are going to do better than others because they're catching and eating prey. Prey is the perfect balance of nutrients and fluid. Your cats will chew up some grasses too, not for nutrition's sake but to send hair and undigestable stuff on their way-either making them regurgitate the hairballs and boney bits or sliding them through the gut.

Dry food is designed to shatter on impact. Fragments lodge in the gums, leading to infections and periodontal disease. It's like us cleaning our teeth by eating saltines. Many cats don't bite the kibbles, and cats lack chewing abilites so the misconception that kibbles are a useful dental aid is ridiculous. Cats mouths are designed to bite and tear. Their molars and jaw structures are undeveloped for chewing.

Dry food is loaded with corn, wheat and soy, which are grains and not nutritious to cats. Cats are obligate carnivores thus must derive nutrients from meats. Feeding cats grain-based foods are like feeding a child nothing but potato chips. You can add vitamins to those chips but the food itself isn't healthy and leads to problems such as obesity, heart disease, renal failure, diabetes, and possibly some cancers.

The reasons that veterinarians aren't up to snuff in feline nutrition are many. Firstly, vets are so deeply involved in learning the many physiological functions, problems, and cures that it's hard to devise a focus in nutrition. Secondly, feline nutrition is carried on in a series of short seminars by pet food manufacturers. Clearly the manufacturers aren't planning to teach anything that might harm the bottom line! So our vet students get to suffer through a big infomercial leaving them to push inadequate foods on our pets. Thirdly, cats were seen as expendable and easily replaceable for so very long that their health concerns only recently are becoming the focus of research. Anything wrong with the family cat was often treated the same as it would have been for the family dog. We now know that canine medications can run the gamut from useless to deadly when used on cats. Still, many vets will prescribe a toxic canine med to a cat, with the claim (taught to them by the drug manufacturer) that it's been 'proven' safe. What practicing vet do you know who has time to do this research on his own? Meds or foods, it's up to the owner to learn, hopefully with veterinary support.

Canine nutrition has only been a focus in the last thirty years. We now ensure far superior nutrition to dogs than we did up to the 60s or so. The research movement is currently swinging to proper feline nutrition. I now know two feline nutrition specialists! More will come along.

The only problem with all of this as it applies to this thread is that the OP has a CRF cat. Once a cat is in failure, its protein requirements change. Using non-grain fillers instead of grains is safer for the affected cat but the manufacturer of the 'prescription' diets isn't using anything but the cheapest carbohydrates-grains. The 'prescription' foods are similar to the cheapest sack of kibble at the grocer, but with the term "Prescription" on the label the price goes over the moon. Yet attempting a non-'prescription' food diet is daunting when you don't know how much your CRF cat's protein intake should be restricted.

As for the diarrhea, dwmc, it's probably just as carmen_grower_2007 suggested: a too-rapid change. I would suggest balancing your CRF cat's diet between the wet (safer and better for the patient) and dry (cheaper for you). I understand that cost is restrictive for CRF treatment, but for your cat's sake, please don't cut out the wet food entirely. Good luck to you.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2009 at 12:18PM
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Harebell, are you also known as Runsnwalken? Your info is not true at all. Any good vet is VERY familiar with all cat foods, and can ID the problem and suggest the best food with the best nutritional values for that cat.

A quick change will produce more diarrhea and loose stools, just introduce it slowly into her diet.

Best of luck!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 6:02AM
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"Harebell, are you also known as Runsnwalken? Your info is not true at all. Any good vet is VERY familiar with all cat foods, and can ID the problem and suggest the best food with the best nutritional values for that cat.
A quick change will produce more diarrhea and loose stools, just introduce it slowly into her diet.

Best of luck!"

Firstly, no, I have no idea who Runsnwalken might be. I am harebell, plain and simple.

I won't argue about gradual changes to foods. One possible reaction to a too-fast change in diet is indeed diarrhea. If you had read my post you would have read that I echoed the need to make any changes gradually.

However, your response about feline nutrition is typical of the myths. Once again, veterinarians lack good sources of feline nutrition. Once again, veterinary schools provide feline "nutrition" classes in the form of seminars hosted by the cat food manufacturers. No. Most veterinarians are NOT knowledgeable about feline nutrition. I have provided a link below where you can introduce yourself to some basics about feline nutrition. The writer is a bit overbearing about raw feeding, but her research is sound. I do provide some raw for my cats but it's not a staple. I DO provide foods to which the cat has evolved to metabolise. BTW, this writer is a VETERINARIAN. This writer backed up my own research and study. I do have a problem with her site, though-she does not touch on CRF and that BUGS me, since CRF brings on a set of dietary changes that no one really understands-how does it work, why does it work (or seem to). I hear of CRF cats doing very well on a reduced-protein diet.

I am curious about why you would completely discount facts without having performed any research whatsoever?

It's not a totally bad thing that vets are mis-led in their feline nutrition education, it forces us, as RESPONSIBLE pet owners, to learn what we put into our companions. I'd much rather have my veterinarians know what they DO know instead-there is so much to know, for a variety of animals, that I wonder how they can possibly know so much. It's MY responsibility to know my cats' nutrition needs. I do have a problem with vets who refuse to listen to sound research and who refuse to acknowledge results of proper feline nutrition. As I stated before, two of the doctors in my practice are open-minded about feline nutrition, and are not just supportive but very excited over the results. The third vet is like you. Closed minded about nutrition. She IS the best out there when it comes to diagnosis of often very difficult or elusive problems. I no longer discuss diet with the last one, but in an emergency I'd love her to be the one handling my cats. She is also the one who I ask for when bringing in a particularly difficult cat-she's the best at handling hissing growling vet-hating cats, I have never seen any better.

Your misinformation cannot change FACT. Please spend a little time researching before returning. If you wish, we could carry this on in the appropriate forum. I don't think that this forum is the right place for a possibly heated debate. I'll check in in a day or so, when you've had the chance to read and can provide factual rebuttal. Have fun in your research and we'll meet again in the Animal Debate forum. I know I won't convince you, and you won't convince me, but it is a fun way to introduce others (innocent bystanders, maybe?) into learning new viewpoints. Chat soon.

Here is a link that might be useful: KNOW THE BASICS OF FELINE NUTRITION

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 11:49AM
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I don't know if you are the one on this forum that said awhile back that cats don't drink water. If so, how can we believe anything else you say? My cats all drink water regularly -- out of the bowl, toilet, kiddie pool, and where ever they can find it indoors or out. Even cats raised on wet food drink water!!!!!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 4:21PM
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"I don't know if you are the one on this forum that said awhile back that cats don't drink water. If so, how can we believe anything else you say? My cats all drink water regularly -- out of the bowl, toilet, kiddie pool, and where ever they can find it indoors or out. Even cats raised on wet food drink water!!!!!"

Cats do indeed drink, however, they lack the thirst drive that would make them drink sufficient water to offset the commercial kibble and other cereals that folks insist are good for them. Of course your cats lap at whatever water is collected anywhere-all cats will. Mine do, too. I wouldn't provide the bubbler for them plus several bowls and pans of water throughout the house if they didn't drink water, that would be a useless exercise. If you are actually drawing your conclusion from either of my previous posts, it is stated nowhere that "cats don't drink water". Please read the post again and try to avoid putting your own spin on what is written. If you are confusing my posts with someone else's in another thread, then perhaps you ought to take THAT person to task.

You did not answer my question about the supplements that you provide your cats. I still have not figured out what DE might be.

    Bookmark   December 8, 2009 at 9:06PM
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DE is Diatomaceous Earth/also known as fossil flour (food grade only). Kelp Meal is rich in all sorts of vitamins and minerals. Both can be googled.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 9:34AM
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DE is Diatomaceous Earth = I should have been able to figure it out myself!

You put Diatomaceous into their food? I always used it in grooming, it's a wonderful flea killer for dogs and other outdoors pets, and for pets exposed to other people's pets with fleas. It's also a good dry shampoo but only with occasional use. What does it do when used as a supplement?

Is kelp meal something that can be used in addition to the commercial nutrient supplement, or is it used on its own?

Thanks for the replies. I'll go see what google brings up about the diatomaceous in food.

    Bookmark   December 13, 2009 at 8:23PM
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DE is a parasite killer.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2009 at 9:15AM
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Dry food does not prevent dental disease. It is not hard enough to scrape off tartar- that's why stainless steel instruments and ultrasonic scalers are necessary to clean teeth. I ALWAYS recommend canned food to ALL my feline patients, and even more strongly to patients with renal disease. You can't give a cat with renal disease enough water, so every little bit, including what is in the food, helps. Eventually you'll even have to supplement water with subcutaneous fluids.

Dry food is also not going to prevent obesity. Obesity is caused by taking in more calories than what is expended. There is no magic in dry food. Cats can be maintained on a healthy weight on either type. However when they are trying to lose weight, it is MUCH easier to feed them canned food because the extra water fills them up, so you don't have to listen to the cat screaming for food all the time. Also many people have no concept of how much food they are giving their cats. One of my own receptionists was absolutely SHOCKED that the amount of food she gave her cat (once we measured it with a measuring cup) was more than what I feed my Huskies! It is so much easier for owners to feed 1/2 of a 4 oz can twice daily or 1 2 oz can twice daily. People think they are starving the cat if you tell them to feed 1/8 cup dry food twice daily. It is hardly any food at all. But a 1/2 can fills up the food bowl.

I hadn't read the link provided by harebell before, but I agree with everything written.

I DID get a very good nutrition education in vet school, thankfully. We have a board-certified nutritionist teach, one who is not bought by Hills, so our school is a little better in teaching nutrition than perhaps others. I am lucky.

The goal to feeding any captive animal is providing the most similar to the natural diet as possible. I don't expect many people to throw mice, birds, reptiles, and bugs into a blender and feed their cats. Outdoor cats, when it is safe for them, probably get the best nutrition if they are catching their own food. That's why strays absolutely loaded with internal and external parasites live pretty well, whereas our pets getting fed commercial low-grade cat food would just waste away with that kind of parasite load.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 4:20PM
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meghane, thank you for weighing in on this. No matter the research I have done nor the successes I've had, I am not a veterinarian.

I never thought about popping a few bits of vermin into a blender for the cats...

You are lucky to have had such a good nutrition background. It's a relief to know. If your school is teaching nutrition facts then others must be too. At last.

    Bookmark   December 19, 2009 at 8:36PM
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Harebell, I have traveled the same road as you. I still have to find a vet (except for the only "local" holistic one... 60 miles away), that will recommend wet over dry--and, after moving to a new state, I have been to several vets! I Like my current vet, but she is a firm believer in dry. However, when a cat is diagnosed with CRF or diabetes, then, they all tell you to switch to wet. For some cats, this is a HUGE change, impossible for an indoor cat who has never supplemented her diet with fresh rodents!
By the way, Harebell, Thank you for this great link! You might want to get the book by Elizabeth Hodgkins (a vet who used to work for Hill's). "Your cat: Simple new secrets to a longer life. She has a good chapter on CRF, and does explain things simply. She has quite a few articles on line.

I am very glad (and not surprised) Meghane is on the "wet" side of the issue--Too bad her practice is not around us!

Don't know why Carmen would bring up 'runsnwalken', either--wonder what happened to him/her..

To get back to the question by the original poster, yes.. diarrhea might just be a question of transition...


    Bookmark   December 20, 2009 at 9:16AM
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