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So, I'm not sure how many people remember, but a few months back, we found a kitten outside. Ever since, it has been a struggle to keep the poor thing healthy.

At first, we brought him to a vet that told us he had an ear infection. When that didn't go away, we took him to another vet who told us it was just an aggressive bunch of mites. Eventually he was acting better and we got him neutered and things were okay for awhile.

Then he got a cut on the pad of his foot, which we kept clean, wrapped it up, it seemed to get better. Until his foot began to swell up like crazy and he started to lose some of his nails. Shortly afterward, his ears erupted full of puss. So we took him back to the vet.

They weren't overly concerned with the foot, they suspected that it may have been broken but were not able to feel anything. The ears on the other hand, they still aren't overly confident about. The vet couldn't get a good look at them due to all of the puss. He was given a shot and we were told to come back in two weeks to see if they were any clearer to get a better look inside of them.

As two weeks passed, the situation went from slightly better, to much worse. His foot seemed to clear up and while no longer swollen, started to get dry and crusty. His ears weren't quite as liquid-filled as before, but the hair began to fall off and they were covered in sores. There were even a few small sores across his body.

Back at the vet, he got his ears flushed and cleaned. He got a steroid injection and is now on a full line of pills and ear drops with the potential of another round in another week. The vet suspected it may have had something to do with a food allergy, but was extremely vague on what types of food we could feed him that would be better. (I'd really like not to have to feed him the Medi-cal/Hills food she was suggesting either :( )

It has been almost a week since we were at the vet, and he is looking a lot better. He used to hide constantly and want nothing to do with us. Now he gets into a bit of trouble and searches for attention. We've changed his food (it's Wellness Core for now, but again, we don't even know what we should be looking for in a food to help him).

The problem now is that someone in the house has apparently seen something worm-like in his droppings/on him. I haven't seen anything personally, but he's been on all kinds of medication and bug-killers to get rid of his ear mites in the past and the infection now. He's 100% indoors and none of the other cats are acting even remotely sick, so I'm not even sure where he would have gotten them. His condition hasn't really changed either, he's not losing weight and isnt terribly skinny. I'm not sure if maybe they only thought they saw something, or if maybe there really is something going on.

I guess the point of this whole post is this: Has anyone dealt with anything like this before? Is there something in the food we should be strictly avoiding? Basically, my vet took a flip book of the food they personally sell and looked up the words 'limited ingredient diet' and showed us two options that popped up without so much as a word on what we should be looking out for as possible alergens. Which kind of concerns me.
 

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The best food you can feed is a raw diet.

The second best food you can feed is a meat based grain free canned food. The best of the best will be basically cooked meat in a can with added vitamins and minerals.

I seriously believe that cats can greatly benefit from a raw food diet since it allows the body to heal in remarkable ways.
 

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The sores on the skin do sound like possible allergic reactions. My kitty is allergic to loads of ingredients. A simple elimination diet failed for me, so I had to resort to the blood testing to determine all of his allergies. If you can afford it, that's probably the easiest way to figure it out, talk to your vet about allergy testing. If he's pressuring you to go straight to the prescription food without finding the source of your kitty's discomfort I'd also suggest finding another vet.

The elimination diet is a bit tougher, but can be successful - especially if your littly guy is only allergic to one or two things.

First, you need to limit the type of protein you feed to your cat to just one. Stop feeding him food that has more than one type of protein in it and find something else to feed him. Chicken/poultry is the most common cat allergen so start with something else. I would caution about using any kind of fish as your sole protein source as well - too much fish can be bad for your kitty as well. Start with something like Beef, Lamb, Rabbit, Venison, etc. Some poultry allergic cats can still handle duck, so that's an idea as well - make sure to read the ingredient labels.

Grains are also a common source of allergens in cats. I highly recommend feeding the grain-free varieties of food as well. Also check out the Raw forum, it isn't as expensive as you might think and it's very healthy for your cats to feed them raw. In some cases, an allergic cat can still eat the raw form of the food they were allergic to as well. Lots of great information on raw feeding in there.

When you do the elimination diet you need to make sure your keep your cat on the single protein for long enough for the allergen to leave his system. This means a minimum of 12 weeks. After that, you can re-introduce another protein in addition to the last and monitor for other 12 weeks. Keeping a cat on a single protein diet long term isn't good either so try to find 2 or 3 that he can eat to ensure variety.

Cats (like mine) can also be allergic to a variety of other things that aren't necessarily the protein. Mine turned out to be allergic to things like soy, wheat, flaxseed, kelp, brewers yeast and alfalfa. This explains for me why when I tried the elimination diet, I failed - none of the food I was giving him eliminated all of these extra allergens. I highly recommend having his blood tested for the allergens, it'll save you both a lot of potential pain from going through the trial and error of elimination diets.
 
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