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Discussion Starter #1
If you saw my introductory thread you will know my cat Jerry was having a skin issue. The vet ruled out ringworm. She thinks its a bacterial infection or a food allergy. Jerry is on antibiotics for 10 days. If her spots dont clear up the vet wants me to try a 12 week food trial with science diet. Personally I think shes crazy Im not about to let science diet any where near my cats mouth. So on that note I need some ideas about which dry foods are the best for cats with allergies. She was on Taste of the Wild. Now I thought that brand was normally given to pets with allergies but someone mentioned how rich it is so I dont know maybe thats the problem. Ive only had her about 6 months. When I first rescued her out of a horse barn from eating rats :p she was fed Purina Naturals while I was low on money up until about a month ago is when I switched her to the Taste of the Wild. Maybe shes allergic to a certain protein in it I dont know. So yesterday I picked up a bag of Natural Balance Green Pea and Duck Limited Ingredients Formula and I am now switching her over to it gradually. Any other suggestions for foods to try or did I pick the right one? Since its a limited ingredient food should I add a multi vitamin? If so which one do you recommend? Also what is a good supplement to try to help with shedding?

Sorry for the novel :)
Any advice is much appreciated
Jerbear

Pictures of Jerry
Shes a very small cat. Vet thinks shes about 18 months old. She can fit in a Pepsi box :p
Jerry in a pepsi box
Another one:
 

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If her spots dont clear up the vet wants me to try a 12 week food trial with science diet. Personally I think shes crazy Im not about to let science diet any where near my cats mouth.
...
Maybe shes allergic to a certain protein in it I dont know. So yesterday I picked up a bag of Natural Balance Green Pea and Duck Limited Ingredients Formula and I am now switching her over to it gradually. Any other suggestions for foods to try or did I pick the right one? Since its a limited ingredient food should I add a multi vitamin? If so which one do you recommend? Also what is a good supplement to try to help with shedding?
Actually, I wouldn't panic about the science diet thing in this case. While their 'regular' food is pretty poor-quality, their specialty diets are sometimes just the ticket. The ingredients in Hill's z/d, for example, look odd but in fact are absolutely non-allergenic. The proteins used are all broken down into such small pieces that they can't cause an allergic reaction, and can be a useful first step in figuring out which protein is causing a problem. If you get a cat onto a completely non-allergenic food, you can gradually introduce other protein sources and watch for a recurrence of symptoms.

That being said, if your vet is recommending "regular" science diet, well, that's a different issue :?

Even foods with limited ingredients, as long as they're commercially labeled as 'complete', should be reasonable for vitamin content. I wouldn't mess with supplements because of the problems you can cause with overdosing or throwing things out of balance.

I'm not super-familiar with US brands, so I can't offer too much in the way of specific recommendations. If you can find single-protein-source foods (preferably without vegetable matter added, but if you have to feed kibble try to find one with a single carb source as well, vegetable proteins can act as allergens too), you can work to determine exactly which protein is causing the problem.

In general... the relatively common allergens in cats are fish, eggs, chicken, pork, soy, and wheat gluten. Start by checking your current food for any of those ingredients (or their derivatives) as a first clue to what might be going on.

ETA: Normally for the shedding I'd suggest trying a touch of fish oil or egg, but if kitty's allergic of course you'll have to be more careful. It may also be the allergies causing coat problems, and once they're under control shedding may decrease. Ours do great with a decent diet and regular brushing :) (we use a combination of a furminator, a zoom groom, and a bristle brush... of the three I think the zoom groom is my current favourite)
 

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I vote against using the hills food - there is very little meat in that stuff!

Clover couldn't handle TOTW food, as well as the Natural Balance LID foods, the main ingrediant those foods had in common were the pea's. She did really well on the 95% meat wet foods (Before Grain, Nature's Variety Instinct, By Nature, and EVO) but I later switched her to raw.

Allergies & Raw Food talks about using an elimination diet as well as other things.

Allergies & Testing talks about testing for allergens.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Here are the ingredients in the Natural Balance LID food I got her:
Peas, Duck, Pea Protein, Canola Oil, Flaxseed, Natural Flavor, Calcium Carbonate, Taurine, Methionine, Choline Chloride, Natural Mixed Tocopherols, Zinc Proteinate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Manganese Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Thiamine Mononitrate (Vitamin B-1), Vitamin A Supplement, Biotin, Potassium Iodide, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin (Vitamin B-2), Pyridoxine Hydrochloride (Vitamin B-6), Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Manganous Oxide, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Folic Acid.

Those brands you listed are tough to come by here. I know they are very nice foods but I have yet to come by a place that carries them here. Ive searched and searched. There is one place but unfortunately not a lot of people that buy them and so a lot of their foods are close to being out of date.... So im limited on what I can work with.

I like the second article you gave me. Im curious to see how much the spectrum testing costs. Anyone ever done it?
 

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I don't have any advice either, but I just love your cat! She's so cute!! She reminds me of my Spencer...right down to the black patch on the chin. :) I just love black and white kitties.
Haha oh my they could be twins! Two little tuxedo kitties haha
 

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I would not recommend changing her food at this point. If the problem clears up, you won't know if it's the antibiotics or the food change. I would wait till you finish the antibiotic. When you're trying to solve a problem like this you never change more than one thing at a time.

If the antibiotic doesn't clear up it and you need to look into diet issues...

Taste of the Wild is a food that can be tried when a grain allergy is suspected. But since this issue has come up since she's been on TOTW and wasn't an issue on Purina, it doesn't seem that grain is the problem. TOTW has multiple protein sources...chicken, 2 types of fish and venison. If a protein allergy is suspected, this is not a good choice for trying to figure out what the issue is. I'm not sure why you suspect that the food being "rich" would be the cause of a skin issue...rich refers to fat content, which would not cause skin problems, in fact fat is good for the skin. "Rich" may cause digestion issues. Wellness CORE is also not a good choice in this situation, it's very similar to TOTW in that it has multiple proteins (turkey, chicken, and 2 types of fish).

I think the NB Duck and Pea is the right next step if the antibiotic doesn't do the job. The duck is good since the TOTW has chicken, salmon and venison...so this is a different protein that she probably hasn't been exposed to. It's a single protein, single carb food that has decent ingredients as opposed to something like Z/D which is so processed it doesn't have any nutrition left in it. Z/D would be an absolute last resort for me. If the NB doesn't work, my next suggestion would be all wet...it would get that vast majority of carbs out of the diet there are some other proteins available in wet that you don't get in dry...rabbit, venison, beef. If that doesn't work, then raw. And if none of that works, then Z/D.

NB food is completely balanced, so you don't need any extra vitamins. And again, I wouldn't add anything extra in anyway...vitamins can cause skin issues (I can't take a multi-vitamin...I'm allergic to niacin...makes me break out in itchy red bumps)

Regarding shedding...I wouldn't worry about that until you find out what the problem is. But when the time comes...wet food is the best thing you can do, proper hydration improves skin condition (and urinary/kidney health) which in turn help hold the hair shaft better. Second best is adding fish oil to the diet. You may even find that the shedding gets worse on the NB...it has a lower protein and fat content than TOTW, which will impact skin condition.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I think Im going to try the wet and dry because the NB comes in can form also. Shes a very small cat. Only weighs 8.3 pounds. She eats very small amounts at a time... never a full or even half a meal in one sitting.... So Im not sure how much wet I should leave out for her because im afraid it would go bad. How long does it keep in the fridge? Ive already started changing her so I guess no turning back now. Makes me feel better anyway that I can possibly rule out a food allergy too without having to go back to the vet in case she would break out again. She seems to like the NB more anyway. After the antibiotics would it be ok for me to give her a fish oil supplement then to help with the shedding? Oh when I said the TOTW might be rich I meant like it has a lot of different proteins in it.... Like more than other normal foods Ive seen. Honestly I dont know if I could do raw because I'd be completely clueless and I also dont have a lot of time on my hands so that would have to be my last resort. I'd like to just because everyone says its much more healthy but I have no idea what time and money goes into a raw diet...
 

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Wet food should stay good in the fridge for 2-3 days. Could you try get her onto a meal scheduale - two or three times a day - instead of free feeding? It is much easier on their body if they don't have access to food constantly.

As for raw, I don't have much time either, but I still have time to prepare/package food for 25 cats/kittens. It would take me an average of 2.5 hours to:

-cut up whole 3 (grocery store) chickens
-smash the bigger of the bone chunks with a mallet or hammer
-open 25 ziplocs...ziplocs hate me lol so it takes a few minutes
-wiegh liver, put appropriate amount in each bags
-wiegh kidney (or whatever "other secreting organ" is being used, put appropriate amount in each bags
-cut up chicken into sizes for kittens to handle, wiegh, put in bags
-cut up 30 pounds of meat, wiegh, put in bags
-zip each bag shut...again, ziplocs hate me, so it takes another couple of minutes
-label all the bags saying what type of meat I used (other than the chicken)
-put all bags in freezer
-clean/disinfect all counters or anything else that could have come in contact with the meat

The 25 ziplocs that I make up each time each contain 20 ounces because I use those for the kittens (Morey, Mitch, Malachi, Matilda, Mooshu, then 16 year old cat Rajah and 7 year old cat Mikey) who eat a lot. If it were just to be feeding one cat I would say all the food I had prepared would last ~60-75 days. In reality, for everyone who is getting this, it lasts a week between them all.

Cost: roughly $1.25 per 20 ounce ziploc

If you want more advice on raw feeding, go over to the raw forum here, I'm sure that you'll get a lot of advice!
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Thanks for the advice on the raw... Still a little bit clueless. I dont know if she would even eat it either. Shes hugely picky. Wont touch human food. Weirdest cat Ive ever had haha If I was going to do the canned wet food. If I found another brand with limited ingredients do you think it would be ok to switch back and forth for variety or no?
 

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Haha, Jerry and Spencer really ARE twins! He is hugely picky too. He won't touch human food or ANY cat treats. :p But he's not small...he's only around 6 mos and I'm pretty sure he's almost the same weight as your kitty. He's not fat, but we think he is going to be a big boy.

You can switch canned foods for variety. I actually had the same question awhile ago and the experienced members on this forum put my mind at ease about that. ;)

I'm no expert with cat health or skin conditions, but you might try Merrick Before Grain canned food. Our kittens (including Mr. Picky) love it. It's grain free (hence the name ;)), and it comes in single meat varieties - 96% chicken, 96% turkey, etc. There is also a 96% chicken and quail. Quail doesn't seem to be too common in the cat food world. Before Grain also has dry food varieties. I've seen Evo mentioned on this threat, and I know it's a great food (though much pricier than Before Grain, at least where I am), but Spencer won't touch it. Oh, well. Doesn't mean your cat wouldn't like it. :)
 

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Ok. Might go pick up some canned foods tomorrow for her to try. The only human food she likes is tuna straight out of the can when im making tuna helper! haha
 

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Oh I have another question. Could cheap treats cause an allergic reaction like she has?? Never thought of that.... Like Whiskas Temptations for example.... or whiskas cat milk even?
 

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If I found another brand with limited ingredients do you think it would be ok to switch back and forth for variety or no?
Right now you have two variables in play...the antibiotics and the duck and pea food. If you want to add NB duck and pea wet food that's fine. But do not add any other variables at this point. That's very important. Get this cleared up and then slowly try one new thing at a time and give it 3-4 weeks before trying another. Switching up foods is fine, in fact I highly recommend it, but only when you're not trying to solve a problem.

Yes, the cheap treats could definitely be the issue (or part of the issue). Anything you give her besides the duck and pea food adds another variable, so you should not be feeding her these treats while trying to get to the bottom of this.
 

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I would say that you could try some of the freeze dried meat treats (avoid common proteins, such as chicken) if you still want to give treats.
Stella & Chewy's makes these in duck...that would be the best choice so that you're consistent with the protein. You're more likely to find them with the dog treats in an independent pet store. They're really expensive though...
 
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