Constipation on raw food - need fix!
I am really hoping someone here can give me some pointers!
I have two cats. One is about 8 years old and the other is 15, both female. They had been on dry kibble for most of their lives because we did not know any better. We did buy "higher quality" food though. 3-4 years ago, the younger one developed crystals and was put on Science Diet CD, mostly dry with occasional canned. Neither cat was excited by canned so they usually ignored it in favor of the dry. The crystals cleared up. But both cats started having other problems. I won't bore you with the details..... I went back to the vet and they were both put on various medications to address their problems. After doing my own research and learning just how bad Science Diet, and dry food in general was for cats, I suspected that their problems might be fixable with diet changes.....including the crystals. And that I needed to get them off the prescription food. My vet was not at all supportive of this. But I took a leap and tried switching them to raw.
We switched to Nature's Variety Raw (the only brand I can get locally) and they made the transition beautifully. They do get canned (Wellness) when we are out of town because we could not find a cat sitter willing to deal with raw. And they very very rarely will get Nature's Variety Instinct Raw Boost if for some reason they need to be unattended for more than 12 hours. This has not happened in many months now.
They have been on this new diet for 18 months now. All of their problems disappeared. No sign of the crystals have returned. All the secondary problems went away. They are off all meds. And to boot they are livelier and have much softer fur. Yay.
A few months ago we started to notice some poo out of the box. It was always right next to the box and clearly very small and dry. We are not sure which cat it is. Having an older cat, I did not think too much of it at first. But it has been going on for a few months now and we noticed some blood in it. Back to researching..... So, after poking around online, I have learned that Nature's Variety is very high in bone content and that this can cause constipation.
As a temporary measure, we switched to all canned food just to clear it up. This has been a few days now and no poo out of the box. Now I need help with the next step.
I would like to get them back on raw. I am not interested in making the food myself. I have done it in the past but we are a vegetarian family and frankly, the trauma was a bit too much for us all. It ended up costing more and I just have too much on my plate to do it even if I were OK with the process. Right now anyway. I have not ruled it out forever.
I figure I have two choices. We can either go back to Nature's Variety and change the way we use it to help the cat digest it easier. I already add water to it. Are there other things I could do? I have seen that one can add a little canned pumpkin? Or ground phylum husks? Any other additives I should look into? This is my preferred route since my extremely picky cats like this type of food, it is affordable, and I can get my hands on it easily. Any reason I should NOT try this first?
The other option is to explore a different commercial food. I can talk to our feed store and see what they can get shipped to them. We are pretty broke so if it cannot be delivered there, it is not an option. The shipping costs for frozen raw are just too high..... BUT, how can you tell what the bone content is?!? I have done search after search. I know Rad Cat is low/no bone, but my store cannot get it. Can someone either fill me in on other low bone foods or can direct me to a resource?