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Discussion Starter #1
We have a bit of a dilemma at our house. I want to feed our 3 year old long-hair Maine Coon mix at least a partially canned food diet. She gets dry in the morning and a can of wet food at night. Our previous kitty only ever ate dry food the ten years she was with me and died at 14 of kidney failure. I know now what can happen when you think your cat is drinking enough water, but she isn't.

I started off looking for brands that only listed real food as the first few ingredients, including some of the cheaper brands "natural" varieties which my cat loves. At that time, I had only begun giving her only 1/3 or half a can in the evening along with more dry food.. and that was OK for a while. Her stools were soft but still somewhat normal looking. Then I started feeding her only canned food in the evening and her morning stools became very loose, sometimes mostly liquid. I thought this meant the food wasn't agreeing with her tummy, so after a couple weeks I started buying the more expensive organics and tried the gluten free versions (Paul Newman, Harmony Farms). I gave each of these a week or so as well to see if they had a similar reaction but my cat would eventually only nibble a few bites of it before refusing it all together. It did seem her stools were slightly more solid with this food (until I tried the liver variety which was a disaster).

So I went back to the grocery store and tried yet one more cheaper variety - Meox Mix market something-or-other. The shrimp and fish flavor has all real food at the top of the ingredient list and no by-products. I bought a dozen of these after she had a couple days of devouring the food and producing stools that though they were rather loose, at least seemed in the normal range. This morning though it was a loose mess which she stepped in trying to cover, then proceeded to leave poopy footprints on the floor and who knows where else yet to be discovered. Her back end looks a mess, but she freaks out and hides under furniture when I try to pick her up to clean her (she is not a cat you can pick up and hold).

Does anyone have any suggestions? Is loose stool pretty common with canned can food?

I know the mess may be par for the course since she has long hair, but I'm at my wits end about that too. I think next time I can catch her calmly sleeping in her bed I'm going to trim as much of her back end hair around her butt as I can.
 

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Discussion Starter #2
I've been Googling and saw where someone suggested that fish tends to producer looser stools in cats than say chicken. Perhaps that's playing a part in things?

I am trying not to be too impatient before switching and trying some other brand because part of the issue may simply be giving her digestive system time to adjust to new food.
 

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To answer your question "Is loose stool pretty common with canned can food?" No...at least, once a cat is regularly eating canned food, then loose stool is not a problem. However, loose stool often arises when you try to change a cat from dry to wet food. So, I suspect that the problem with your cat is that her system has not yet adjusted to the wet food.

I would stay away from feeding too much fish, since there are a lot of problems associated with fish. Rather than organic or gluten-free food, I would opt for grain-free wet food. You will find that if the food is grain-free, the overall ingredients will be healthy. Possibilities include Evo, Wellness, Weruva, some Merrick, Nature's Variety Instinct, and Blue Wilderness, to name but a few.

I know the problem with long-haired cats! And Muffs, in particular, hates to be held or handled. When one of my girls has an "accident" (which fortunately only happens every blue moon), I put a few treats on the ground and while they're busy eating I go "snip, snip".
 

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It does take some cats time to adjust to having a new type of food source. You may have been giving her a bit too much to start if those are 5.5 oz cans.

The first thing I recommend is to stop looking for 'good' food in the grocery store....you're very unlikely to find it there. Foods like Meow Mix Market Selects may have 'real' ingredients at the start, but then degrade to things like wheat gluten, artificial colors and flavors, modified food starch (since it doesn't define the source it can be anything including corn) etc.

Good foods include brands like Wellness, Natural Balance, EVO, Innova, Holistic Select, Fromm, Merrick, Nature's Variety, Tiki, Weruva and a bunch of others...that list gives you a good start. Go to their websites and use their store locator to find a store near you. Some of these can be found in Petco and Petsmart too.

Start off by giving her a teaspoon per meal and work it up as long as her stool is good. You can also add some canned pumpkin (no pie spices) to help firm up her poop.

Regarding fish...I have a Maine Coon who can't eat fish. The higher on the ingredients list, the more watery things are.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thank you so much for the replies, Susan and Doodlebug!

Do you think part of the problem is that I am giving her two types of food each day? Dry in the a.m. (Iams) and wet in the evening? Should we switch to strictly canned food? I know the more water in her overall the better.

I will give up on the idea of grocery store canned food and investigate what Petsmart has. Thanks for the recommendations!
 

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If you can move her to all-wet, then that would be preferable, although you'll still go through an initial period of soft stool as you make the transition.

You're not likely to find too many grain-free brands at Petsmart. I can't speak for New York, but where I am, about the only brand you'll find might be Blue Wilderness (although I think some U.S. locations carry certain types of Wellness products). The grain-free food is normally carried by the smaller pet food stores. If you were in Canada, I could advise you of the pet stores that carry higher-quality cat food, but I can't speak for New York. You might want to visit some of the websites of the grain-free manufacturers (Evo, Nature's Variety, Wellness, etc.) and search for retailers in your area...or perhaps some U.S. members can chime in.

You can also order online in bulk, although you're best to try out a few cans of various brands on your cat first, to make sure she likes it, following which you could order in bulk.
 

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I second Susan's and Doodlebug's food recommendations (and the recommendation to avoid feeding fish too often). My cat Athena had chronic loose stool on both kibble and canned and it turned out to be an indication of digestive sensitivities. The more indigestible materials in the food (grains, corn, highly processed meat meals and by-products) the worse her stools were.

In her case I had to eventually put her on an all-raw diet, because nothing else was working, but you may be fine switching your cat to just a quality food with less indigestible filler. Athena's stools were definitely improved (although not perfect) on a grain-free food over a food with grain. Even higher quality foods with compelx carbs as their grain source (like barley) were a problem for Athena.

As Susan said, I have a very hard time finding all the brands I like (Wellness, Merrick, Blue Wilderness) at Petsmart. They have some, but not a wide selection. Do you have a PetCo near you? They have a much larger selection of grain-free foods. Also if you have any small local pet stores, they may carry them.

Also, just a note: make sure you check labels if you want to go the grain-free front, as the above-mentioned brands make varieties with grain in them as well. All of Wellness' grain-free flavors will boast a "grain-free" yellow triangle on the front. All of Blue's Wilderness line is grain-free. Merrick's Before Grain line is all grain free but only some of their Gourmet Entrees are grain-free, so you'd need to check the ingredients list on those.
 

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Just to chime in - Petco is definitely better than PetSmart for healthier and grain free foods...but I found my favorite pet store by going to a few brands' websites and looking up what retailers carried them. One store carried all the brands I looked up (which have been mentioned in this thread already). I had never even heard of that pet store before, since it's relatively small, but now it's my favorite one, and they sell premium foods very inexpensively. There might be a gem like that near you...just a thought. :)
 

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i have a 7 month old siamese, and has been getting dry kibble,,,but i am switching to can.......well, at least trying. i have tryed many canned foods, and he just does not like most of them, and i have tryed many...i bought merrick california roll yesterday, and he seems to like it, and it looks something a lot bettter than most canned foods. so it seems that merrick is going to be what he gets since he likes it....:catmilk
 

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i have a 7 month old siamese, and has been getting dry kibble,,,but i am switching to can.......well, at least trying. i have tryed many canned foods, and he just does not like most of them, and i have tryed many...i bought merrick california roll yesterday, and he seems to like it, and it looks something a lot bettter than most canned foods. so it seems that merrick is going to be what he gets since he likes it....:catmilk
The Merrick California Roll flavor is fish (salmon and tuna), which might explain why he likes it, since many cats just adore fish, despite it not being the best for them. I would also try out some of the other Merrick (non-fish) flavors, otherwise you might find yourself in a situation where your cat refuses to eat anything but fish (which happened to me last year).
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I really appreciate all the feedback offered here! I went to Petsmart today and purchased some cans of "By Nature Organics." The ingredient list seemed to closely match the Blue Wilderness label. I liked that these were available in 6 oz cans. I didn't buy any fish varieties and currently, Fifi seems to be enjoying the organic turkey and chicken. I gave her about half a serving and some dry food to balance out the meal until I can make it all new stuff later in the week.

We'll see how it goes in the a.m. when she has her morning litter box visit. Nothing can be worse than this morning, so I feel hopeful about this new food.

As for switching to all canned food, I like the idea with my only concern being the weekends we leave her alone and head out of town (usually a Friday evening to Sunday afternoon a few times a year). I think I read in another thread on this board about an automatic feeder that might solve that issue too. I'll be sure to look into it.

Again, thanks, everyone! This is a really wonderful online community. :eek:nekitty
 

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i bought merrick california roll yesterday, and he seems to like it, and it looks something a lot bettter than most canned foods. so it seems that merrick is going to be what he gets since he likes it....:catmilk
I haven't tried the regular Merrick varieties, but my kittens eat the Merrick Before Grain varieties...if you can get Before Grain, try the Quail and Chicken kind - it's my kittens' favorite, and will add some variety to the fish. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Hi again everyone! I'm back again with yet another question and issue.

I have been feeding my cat one of the canned foods suggested here (Natural Choice) for the last couple of weeks adding about a tablespoon or so of organic pumpkin to it. She started off very into the food, eating all of it in the course of about an hour. In the last few days, she has left more and more untouched and tonight, she has refused to eat any of it (so far).

I've only been giving her the turkey and chicken formula and a chicken casserole formula. The last two times I tried other higher quality all natural sorts of canned food, she did the same thing. She loses interest or has become picky. I don't know what to do!

The only wet food she seems to enjoy or is greatly attracted to is Fancy Feast or Meow Mix. She always ate those meals immediately (inhaled sometimes), but the result was often very loose stool. I've had mixed results with her newer, better food as far as the stools go. They seemed to be getting better, so I was going to continue with this food.. but now that she's refusing to eat it? I'm not sure.

She's still getting Iams dry food in the morning. She has had this ever since we got her two years ago.

Does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions? I appreciate it!
 

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I think we might be OK afterall. She took her time, but Fifi eventually ate most of her food by the time I went to bed yesterday. Tonight, I left the pumpkin out of her food and she ate it up within an hour.

I'll have a car again tomorrow after having it in the shop for a few days, so I'm going to finally get to Petsmart to buy some of the Natural Choice dry food for her morning meal (to switch from Iam's). I may someday switch to an all moist food diet, but I'm kind of liking the idea that she has a dry food that agrees with her for when the weekends 3 or 4 times a year we leave her alone.
 

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I was happy to find this thread...it's basically the same problem I'm having! I'm trying to switch our two cats from 100% dry (supermarket variety, bleah) to grain-free dry and canned (half and half). I like to keep them accustomed to dry for the same reason, ThatCatGirl...we sometimes leave town for a few days, and dry offers the most peace of mind, foodwise.

So the switch to grain-free is done (they eat Blue Wilderness dry), but I'm still working on the canned food. The trouble isn't so much that they won't eat it (though my older one is picky...so far, the only one she eats enthusiastically is Fancy Feast's Flaked Fish/Shrimp). My problem, like ThatCatGirl's, is that some flavors, at least, seem to cause loose stool in my younger cat (Little Bee, who's ~1 year old).

We've been trying wet food for a couple of weeks. For now, while I investigate their flavor/texture preferences, I've been feeding them Fancy Feast (only those flavors with no grain products listed on their label...I'm tolerating meat by-products for now). It's inexpensive, and comes in 3-oz cans...so I don't feel guilty if I chunk some. I've been giving them just 1-2 ounces at night to start (sometimes Little Bee eats Sabine's portion...Sabine just walks away from hers if it's not the flaked fish/shrimp).

But on a couple mornings, Little Bee's stools have been loose enough that I have to clean her up after she's done (she tolerates it (she's such a good girl!)...but I hate to think where she'd leave little heinie-prints if I weren't here to do it. Ick!). I'm pretty sure that both times the flavor has been chicken & liver...though that could just be a coincidence.

Do you think it's a flavor issue (I think I saw someone else mention liver as a problem for their cat) or a food quality issue (those pesky meat by-products?). I did feed a can of Wellness when we first started....neither loved it, so I haven't bought more...but I don't think we had this problem then (there were loose stools, but they had more to do with Little Bee licking off some of her flea medication...oy). Or, could it just be that she's still adjusting? How long does it usually take for things to "normalize"?

Thanks so much, in advance! :)
 

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It's hard to say littlebee. Solving food-related stool problems are basically a matter of trial and error. It does sound like it's some specific ingredient in one (or more) of the flavors being offered, if it's not always happening. I'd start writing down what flavors you give her each day, and then also write down what days she has loose stool to see if there's any correlation.

If she never had loose stool on dry food, then my guess it's something that's in some of the wet food flavors that's not in the dry food. If she also had loose stool on dry, then my guess would be it's more likely a processing or filler issue (my younger cat has loose stools on any processed/cooked food, including grain-free, but it's worse with grain foods).

Once you've found which foods give her loose stool, take a close look at the ingredients. If she has loose stool on more than one food, see which ingredients are common to both.

Common problem ingredients can be grains (this includes corn, rice, wheat, any kind of gluten, and even oats), soy, certain vegetables/other carb fillers, and by-products (because it's hard to know what exactly they're made up of), but it could be something less common too like a poor reaction to a particular protein/type of meat.
 

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I went through the "I don't like that, I want fish." So another thing you can do - -start feeding a meal of mostly [whatever YOU want them to eat] and add a teaspoon of that-stuff-they-want. I have become super devious in my quest to have them eat the grain free canned that I prefer they eat.

I got tired of throwing away so much while trying to switch to grain free canned, and Homer was losing too much weight so I resorted to buying a couple Fancy Feasts and Iams; the kind with chicken or turkey chunks and gravy and even a couple fish ones. If I feed them a meal of 75% good Weruva or Nature's Instinct and a tiny spot of the cheaper, salty, fatty canned, they eat it. I also sprinkle about a teaspoon of grain-free kibble on top and push it down into the food a little so they get the gooey wet food stuck to it when they take a bite. Gets things rolling, and the food is getting eaten.

Another trick I use is adding hot water to the food, gets the smell wafting, and they love to lap up the liquid.
 

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Just to add to what I posted (because I don't talk enough, apparently) -

I never had the problem of loose stools, but I didn't let them get more than a tablespoon of fish ever. Don't know if that is why or not, but you asked about stool with switching. I went straight from regular kibble (MaxCat Nutro) to grain free canned.

Actually Homer is now on one raw meal and one canned daily - with a mid-afternoon treat of about a tablespoon of grain free kibble.
 

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This is great...thanks so much! I'm definitely giving the last 2 cans of chicken/liver to may parents, who have an outdoor cat on a garbage diet, so even if it's sub-par it'll be better than what she's used to.

The chicken/liver has "liver" as the first ingredient...which I'm thinking just makes it too rich. All of the other flavors have liver listed as the second ingredient...and the flaked fish/shrimp hasn't got any liver OR by-products (and it does list thiamine, so hopefully wouldn't put them at risk if I fed it long-term?). I notice that Wellness canned also lists chicken liver as a second ingredient, too. Blue Wilderness doesn't list liver at all.

I fed the flaked fish last night (Sabine was thrilled), and all's well today in the poop department. I may try a few of the other FF flavors with some liver (they're all more or less identical ingredient-wise), to see if it seems to make a difference. If it does, I may blame the liver (though by-products may be just as likely). I may give Blue Wilderness canned a try, to get rid of both.

I love the tips on getting them to eat what I want them too...especially for Sabine. She'd rather eat nothing than something that doesn't thrill her. I think mixing a little of the FF flaked fish with better food...or putting some water in it will make a big difference to her.

I'm excited! Thanks again...it's great to talk with others who put a lot of thought into what they feed their pets. I switched our dogs to a corn/soy free feed at the same time. My husband (though he agrees it makes sense) practically forbade me to talk about it anymore...I was obsessing, trying to find the right brand and formula for all our furry kids. Luckily, Little Bee had horrible gas when she first came to us...and it entirely disappeared once we got the grain out of her diet. He admits that my obsession paid off there....especially since she likes to sleep on his side of the bed. ;)
 
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