I am sooo confused!
On forums and other internet articles I have been told that ground beef is okay (and can even help solidify diarrhea). And that pork is bad and should never be given to cats.
However, I just came back from a specialist vet of 30 year practice who said cats should never have any beef, but pork is perfectly fine. (I forgot to ask, but I assume that the pork should be cooked to prevent the parasites usually found in it)
So here's the situation. The rescue group I volunteer for had a kitten who wouldn't gain any significant weight, but always had a swollen belly and BAD diarrhea (as in, dripping behind him as he walked ALL the time!). His coat was also very oily/greasy.
So we took him to our regular vet who of course prescribed pumpkin, some antibiotics in case it was needed and said to watch him. No better. Then I think he was given steroids in case it was something like IBD... still nothing.
We finally took him to the specialist vet, and she said he had pancreatic insufficiency and needed a low fat diet. Gave us the Science Diet/Hills intestinal prescription kibble and some Royal Canin canned food also for GI stuff, and he takes some sort of enzyme pill twice a day. He started to improve! Now he's gaining weight properly/proportionately and has a soft/sleek coat.
However, he gets bored with his diet food, so we started looking for treats to give him every day. We've been doing cooked chicken, fish, hamburger and ever so often a little bit of chicken liver.
So yesterday I was at this vet for another cat (skin condition we couldn't figure out). I told her how great Merlin was doing, and that we finally found a low fat food that didn't cost a fortune (because as soon as people find out "special diet" they don't want to adopt him cuz it's expensive). Fancy Feast has several varieties with only 2% fat, so we were happy, as we thought he simply needed a low fat diet.
Apparently it's not the amount
of fat, but the type/quality. The vet said ANY cat should not have beef as it's fat and other nutrients are hard for them to process. Only give them poultry, and fish should be salmon or trout, nothing "white" (tilapia, swai, like we had been giving him). I said "what about pork? I heard it's bad, but all these canned prescriptions have it as the first ingredient" and she said it was okay.
Of course she also said no more Fancy Feast, as she's seen lots of problems with it. And no meat by-products, which of course I already knew that rule
I did tell her I was feeding my cats raw diet, and she said it was not a good idea because of bacteria and salmonella, but that cooked meat was okay.
So now I have no idea what to do! Do I listen to her 30 years experience, or multitudes of articles/other owners?