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Discussion Starter #1
I have two cats, Neko is 13 years old, Willie is 11. They have been eating only canned food for at least 7 years. Initially they were given a variety of brands and flavors but over the years for simplicity in shopping and because of price we've gone down to one brand and two flavors. Weruva: Cats in the Kitchen is the brand/line. Each cat gets one can a day split into two meals. That's 147-151 calories a day per cat.

Both cats are at an excellent weight. I have noticed over the last year or so though, that Neko is losing muscle mass in his hind legs, they are getting that weak elderly animal look to them. He has also become ridiculously obsessed with food. With the exception of about 2 hours after a meal he is constantly begging for food. If you are sitting still he might relax but as soon as you stand up he starts yowling and running back and forth from you to his plate. For the last two hours before a meal he just sits next to you and meows pathetically like he's starving. Willie is also food obsessed, but he's more of a counter surfer, he doesn't beg us for food he just tries to take it from our plates lol. It seems like he just likes the taste of food so scrounges around for it, like a dog. He doesn't seem desperately hungry like Neko does. Plus, Willie has always been like that, Neko has not.

At first I thought it was behavioral so simply ignored him, but once I noticed the muscle loss in his legs I figured he may really need more calories. So I added a bedtime snack of fresh pet to their diets. This didn't help. I was concerned about weight gain, mainly in Willie, so I did stop the bed time snack since it didn't help. So I did some internet searching and found sites saying that cats protein requirements actually increase in their senior years. So I'm thinking perhaps they need a higher protein food.

My questions are
1. Do you think this will help with the muscle loss and food obsession or am I way off base? My mother thinks the muscle loss might just be normal aging that we can't do anything about. I'm not sure he's really old enough for that yet.

2. Any brand recommendations that are not super expensive but are higher protein than the Weruva CitK? I'm a little confused on how to compare protein levels between brands. I always thought you were supposed to compare things on a dry matter basis to account for differences in moisture levels, but that doesn't make sense for this because I need to know how much protein is actually in each can and the dry matter percentages are not telling me that. They are telling me that Weruva is higher in protein than most foods. But I know that Weruva is very watered down compared to other foods, so I don't think each can actually contains more protein than other foods. So do I just go with the percentages on the can then?

Neko is due for a vet appointment soon I believe, but last year he did have blood work done and had a dental. Blood work indicated kidney disease but urinalysis indicated his kidneys were fine, and I guess urine trumps blood work. Everything else was normal.
 

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I cannot answer your questions, although I'll be interested to see what more experienced members have to say.

My current cat is semi-feral and if I feed him much more than 1 can per day he leaves some in the dish which is not the goal. I have started boiling eggs and mashing them up and adding some to each meal, just a teaspoon full. Or maybe a bit of cottage cheese. That's additional protein.

I don't know how that would work out with kidney issues though.
 

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Well technically he doesn't have kidney issues, I'm still not entirely sure why the urine values are more important than the blood values but I guess they are.

Neko is not into people food, though he does like cheese...but only certain types. I tried for a while to get him to eat meat when I was switching my other cat to raw but he wouldn't even taste it.
 

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glad you're going to vet soon. definitely need to have his values checked again. hyperthyroidism sometimes crops up as kitties get older, and they could be part of why he's MUCH hungrier these days and could be why he's losing muscle mass. if the vet starts talking about lower protein diets, I'd be skeptical since he's already losing muscle mass, btw. just my non-medical opinion!
 

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My thinking is the same as Maggie23's....symptoms sound like hyper-t to me. Although I have to say, unless he's a very small cat...one can of Weruva a day seems like he's underfed. A 10 lb cat should be getting about 225-250 calories per day. Of course metabolisms vary, but chronic under feeding could be the cause of muscle wasting and ravenous behavior...which wouldn't go away with feeding an extra snack for a short period of time.

I think you need to get him to the vet asap, don't wait for his annual appt. If he is hyper-t, his organs are being damaged and will continue until he's treated. Full senior bloodwork and urinalysis are needed.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Maybe they are just underfed then. I know Weruva is lower calorie than other foods, so maybe when we fed a mix of brands those higher calorie foods were providing them enough calories even though they still only got 1 can a day. Then since switching to solely Weruva they haven't been getting enough. I always thought as long as they were good weight wise (fat wise I guess) then they were being fed the appropriate amount. Both cats are perfect as far as being able to feel the ribs lightly but not see any bones, so I figured they were getting the right amount. But since you suggested that it was a calorie issue I've been looking at various sites and they do all indeed suggest more calories (He's about 9 pounds).

I looked at his paperwork and his last vet visit was last August, so it is past time for his annual anyway. I'll get him in for blood work soon.
 

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Just wanted to add that urinanysis doesn't trump bloodwork in determining kidney disease: all of the numbers have to be looked at together. My kitty is now definitely in early stage CKD, but the first sign was bloodwork that showed one slightly elevated bloodwork value (the SDMA test), though normal creatinine and BUN, and a previous normal urine specific gravity (they couldn't get a urine sample at the time of that first bloodwork). Because the SDMA number shows kidney disease earlier than BUN and creatinine numbers, the vet said although the other values were normal, we should assume that kidney function was beginning to decrease.

You do want to get more protein into your kitties, but you also don't want to go overboard, as too much protein is not good for the kidneys. Lesser amounts of high quality protein are the best way to go. I don't know how raw food compares to wet in terms of price, but it's something you may want to consider if it's feasible.
 

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Last year his creatinine was slightly elevated at 2.7 mg/dL (normal .9-2.5) and his SDMA was elevated at 18 ug/dL (normal 0-14). BUN was normal, though at the higher end, it was 34 mg/dL (normal 16-37). The vet said it was very likely he had kidney disease but they needed the urinalysis to confirm. Urinalysis came back normal so she said he doesn't have kidney disease. I just didn't get an explanation as to why his blood values would be off if his kidneys were okay. I'll make an appointment in the next few weeks, when exactly depends on my bank account. Then we'll see if anything has changed.

I'm trying to pick out a new food now, something around 200 calories per can, to see if that makes his hunger/body condition issues better. I feel awful if I've basically been starving him all this time. I don't understand why they wouldn't look skinny. Do they burn muscle before fat?
 

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Do you know what the urine specific gravity result was on the urinalysis. It seems like those numbers are very similar to those for my kitty (labwork by IDEXX, so normal ranges are the same):

Dec 2016, SDMA 15; creatinine 2.1; BUN 33. Urine specific gravity in (Feb 2016) was 1.038 (normal range is something like 1.015-1.051).

As you can see, all of those numbers are actually a bit better than the numbers for your kitty. Yet based on that SDMA value, my regular vet said most likely very early stage kidney disease. In July, a different, younger vet saw my kitty and, based on the Dec 2016 results, said there was no evidence of kidney disease. But when she had bloodwork 2 weeks later, the values clearly show CKD:

July 2017, SDMA 20; creatinine 2.9, BUN 51; urine specific gravity 1.015.

So maybe vets don't give an official diagnosis of CKD if just the SDMA value is off, especially because they're so used to going by BUN and creatinine numbers. The SDMA test is relatively new (in the past 3 or 4 years, I think), but it does catch CKD earlier (when about 40% of kidney function is lost, rather than 75% as is the case if you go just by BUN/creatinine).

I hope there's maybe a different explanation in Neko's case, but I think you should be prepared that Neko may be in very early stage kidney failure.

I'm not sure about muscle v. fat, but maybe he was getting enough calories, but not enough of the nutrients he needed? I believe that weakness in the rear legs can be due to a vitamin B deficiency. When my kitty gets subcutaneous fluids, they always give an injection of vitamin B as well. Maybe giving him some bone broth would help as well?

My holistic vet also recommended raw goat's milk, which is supposed to be good for kitties and dogs in multiple ways. I didn't think my finicky one would go for it, but she lapped up quite a bit yesterday.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Nature's Logic-Complete Nutrition?

I've been researching canned cat foods as I'm planning to switch my guys to something higher calorie than the Weruva they are on now. Nature's Logic has made it to the final cut, though it's a bit higher in calories than I wanted so I'd likely rotate it with Weruva rather than replace weruva entirely. The website repeatedly claims that they provide complete nutrition without using synthetic vitamins/minerals, they use only real food to provide everything your cat needs. However, when I was on Chewy checking prices they have a picture of the actual food label and I just happened to notice that it says the food is intended for supplemental feeding only. I have seen no indication of this anywhere else while I was reading reviews and whatnot and it certainly doesn't give that impression anywhere on their website that I can find.

After seeing that, I did some more specific googling and found a few forum and review posts that mentioned this and said that the company promises the foods are complete and balanced but cannot claim that they are until they do an AAFCO feeding trial, but that they do plan on doing one in the near future. But these posts were quite old.

So does anyone feed this? If so do the cans still say they are for supplemental feeding only or does Chewy have on old label photo? Would you trust that the company is being honest when the AAFCO statement on the can cannot confirm their claim?
 

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Hmmm....I carry Nature's Logic in my store and I'll be ticked at myself if I never noticed that it wasn't nutritionally complete. I usually choose to only carry nutritionally complete cat foods as people assume all foods are and it's too much of a pain to make sure every customer is informed. I'll check the cans when I get in tomorrow.
 

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OK...confirmed that Nature's Logic is only for supplemental feeding...crap...
 

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I mean the company itself claims it's nutritionally complete, but then you'd have to put your trust in a pet food company's word. I mean why aren't they taking the steps necessary to get the AAFCO designation?
 

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My last cat before the avatar one, Patricia (aka Pattycakes), was diagnosed with early kidney disease after having a routine blood test. Her vet at the time includes blood testing in regular wellness exams for his senior patients (11+ in cats). She had no symptoms, but because of her age I was not surprised by the result. Her BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and creatanine (sp?) were slightly elevated. That's probably what the vet was talking about - elevated levels, but not bad enough to call it chronic kidney failure (CRF) yet. Ask your vet (he or she?) if this is the case; it determines whether you should change the amount of protein in the older cat's diet.
 
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