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Discussion Starter #1
Meet Mishka & Leo -> Mishka's Currently on Prescription Diet for Bowel Issues...

Meet Mishka (big sister, almost 2 yrs old) and Leo (baby brother, 5 months old) [pics below]. They have both always been inside-only cats since I'm in an apt, although Mishka is allowed to go on the balcony where she loves to sunbathe. First, a little info on Leo's diet [very short- he's the healthy one], and then Mishka's (who has the problem).

In the past few months, I've become semi educated on the quality of cat foods.

Leo...

Since getting Leo about 4 months ago, he has had a pretty high quality diet [not counting the little bit of Science Diet the shelter sent him home with]. We started him off with Taste of the Wild (dry and wet combo), which he seemed to love, but it made his stool especially bad smelling. After that was gone, we switched to a Solid Gold Katz-N-Flocken (dry) and Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul (wet) combo, since they don't carry a Solid Gold wet at the Pet store near us. While both of these do have grains, they are high quality grains and both products received 5 stars at petfoodratings.net. Leo loves this combo, has great stools, and lots of energy.

Now for Mishka...

When we first got Mishka, we fed her whatever was cheap, usually Friskies or Costco brand. Her stools were always pretty much okay, with the occasional soft stool that would cling to her fur and require cleanup.

At one point however, her stools became consistently "runny", resembling diarrhea. Almost daily, we would come home to find her stools on the carpet, on her cat tree, wherever she had walked to after going to the bathroom. Her stools were extremely runny and would get stuck to her long fur, and then everywhere she stopped to try and bath herself, she would make a mess. It got to the point where we had to cut it out of her, so we ended up giving her a close haircut near her rear end, and while this prevented her stool from sticking to her, she still had diarrhea everyday. We tried different cat food (still cheapo foods at this point), we tried feeding her only chicken and pumpkin, and three visits to the Vet later including numerous tests, they couldn't find ANYTHING wrong with her.

So they gave us a new food to try on her - Prescription Diet Low-Fat Gastrointestinal with Chicken (wet only at first, we've since added in dry as well since it's so expensive). Also, the low-fat formula has 7% more fiber than the not-low-fat formula. This seemed to do the trick! Within the week, Mishka's stools were firm as could be! She had been on this for about 8 months now.

--Recently, however, since we've been so health conscious about the foods Leo gets, I took a deeper look into Prescription Diet, and found that it is made by Hill's- the maker of Science Diet. I then took a look at the ingredient list, and discovered how horrible they were! For the dry food, the first 3 ingredients are Brewer's Rice, Chicken By-Products, and Corn, which seem to be 3 of the worse ingredients you can have. The wet food is a little better including chicken, but still includes Pork By-Products before that, as well as more corn.

After reading these awful ingredients, we are thinking about transitioning Mishka to a high quality food, but are unsure of what to try. One day I gave Mishka some cooked beef, and it upset her stomach and gave her diarrhea. Another day I tried giving her some Taste of the Wild dry food, and it made her stool extra soft (maybe because it was out of the blue and not a gradual transition).

I'm assuming what makes her stools so hard with the Prescription Diet, is that it's Crude Fiber is 9% (protein is something like 37%), for the dry food, and 4% max Fiber for the wet food. I'm not sure I've seen another food with Fiber so high, although I have just begun to search.

I would love for Mishka to be eating high quality ingredients, but am scared to go through her diarrhea phase again.

Should we ween Mishka off of Prescription Diet and onto something with MUCH higher quality ingredients? What does everyone think?
 

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Nature's variety Instinct Chicken has 3% fiber. Chicken Soup Adult Hairball has 2.5 % fiber. Wellness core Indoor has 2.0%. Maybe try one of those and see how she does?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I looked into some of the ones you listed, and a few more, here's what I found:

The Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul Light Dry Formula has 8% Max Fiber, but it also has an ingredient called "Powered Cellulose", which I googled and found to be extremely poor and can lead to softer stools. What do you think about this one?

I did find some weight control/indoor formulas [they seem to have the most fiber] from Blue and Natural Balance with Max Fiber levels of 7-8% in the dry foods, with no Dried/Powdered Cellulose, would those be better than the Chicken Soup one that does have Powdered Cellulose?
 

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Wet food is ultimately best and there is a lot of good wet food to feed.

Have you tried feeding a high quality wet food with pure canned pumpkin added? Pumpkin will help provide fiber. It is often suggested for cats with upset tummies or hairballs.
 

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I went to look at the ingredients of the food you're feeing her and my deity it is terrible. It has more powdered cellulose than chicken!

Prescription Diet® w/d® Feline Low Fat-Diabetic-Gastrointestinal with Chicken ingredients:
Brewers Rice, Corn Gluten Meal, Chicken By-Product Meal, Powdered Cellulose, Chicken, Chicken Liver Flavor, Soybean Oil, Calcium Sulfate, Lactic Acid, Potassium Chloride, Choline Chloride, DL-Methionine, Vitamin E Supplement, vitamins (L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (source of vitamin C), Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Thiamine Mononitrate, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Biotin, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Vitamin D3 Supplement), Iodized Salt, Taurine, minerals (Ferrous Sulfate, Zinc Oxide, Copper Sulfate, Manganous Oxide, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite), L-Carnitine, preserved with Mixed Tocopherols and Citric Acid, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract.
As you can see, while there isn't much meat in this, it's all chicken. I wonder if she is allergic or intolerant at the least to other proteins. You didn't mention the exact foods you've fed her before. You might try Merrick's Before Grain Chicken wet food. It comes in dry too but it has turkey meal in it. Switching from dry to wet can cause some diarrhea so it could take a week or two to find out.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Just wanted to add, her Prescription Diet stuff also has Powdered Cellulose.

We never tried wet and pumpkin, but we did try Costco dry and pumpkin before, which didn't work...
 

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I went to look at the ingredients of the food you're feeing her and my deity it is terrible. It has more powdered cellulose than chicken!



As you can see, while there isn't much meat in this, it's all chicken. I wonder if she is allergic or intolerant at the least to other proteins. You didn't mention the exact foods you've fed her before. You might try Merrick's Before Grain Chicken wet food. It comes in dry too but it has turkey meal in it. Switching from dry to wet can cause some diarrhea so it could take a week or two to find out.
Must have posted my last message almost the same time you posted this, didn't see it til now. Yeah, what do you think about the powdered cellulose thing? Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul "Light" also lists it pretty early (the non-light doesn't list it). Does it have any effect on hardness of stool?

The Weruva you posted only had Crude Fiber 0.06% as average, I'm not sure that is enough, as it is my assumption that high fiber = hard stool. I'll look into Merrick's, have heard great things, but also that it is expensive.

I'm paying $15 for a 4lb bad of Prescription Diet dry, and $30 for the case of wet food.
 

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Must have posted my last message almost the same time you posted this, didn't see it til now. Yeah, what do you think about the powdered cellulose thing? Chicken Soup for the Cat Lover's Soul "Light" also lists it pretty early (the non-light doesn't list it). Does it have any effect on hardness of stool?

The Weruva you posted only had Crude Fiber 0.06% as average, I'm not sure that is enough, as it is my assumption that high fiber = hard stool. I'll look into Merrick's, have heard great things, but also that it is expensive.

I'm paying $15 for a 4lb bad of Prescription Diet dry, and $30 for the case of wet food.
Powdered cellulose acts as a stool softener actually.

24 5.5oz cans of before grain chicken is 31.99. 6.6lb of the dry food is 19.99. 11.1 is 28.99. Petflow.com is where I got these prices.

I think that's pretty reasonable. If she can handle turkey, that opens up the options a lot too. I would see how she does on the BG chicken wet and go from there.
 

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Ok, I see I can get Merricks from Amazon too, which would be 2day shipping with my Prime.

I just realized that Fiber also makes stools soft, guess I had it backwards.

I'm not sure what it is about Prescription Diet that makes Mishka have hard stools, but it can't be the only food that stabilizes her.

Can you tell if Prescription Diet contains any medicine/antibiotics that are specifically for diarrhea? Just trying to figure out what it is about this awful food that agrees with her.

Also does grains/grain-free have any effect on stool hardness?
 

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Ok, I see I can get Merricks from Amazon too, which would be 2day shipping with my Prime.

I just realized that Fiber also makes stools soft, guess I had it backwards.

I'm not sure what it is about Prescription Diet that makes Mishka have hard stools, but it can't be the only food that stabilizes her.

Can you tell if Prescription Diet contains any medicine/antibiotics that are specifically for diarrhea? Just trying to figure out what it is about this awful food that agrees with her.

Also does grains/grain-free have any effect on stool hardness?
No it doesn't.

It doesn't from my experience. Grain-free is the way to go though.

I am betting on intolerance of another protein that was in the other foods. Most foods have several different proteins. Chicken seems to be safe given the current food.
 

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Okay thanks for your help. We still have quite a bit of Prescription Diet unfortunately, but will start mixing in Merricks Before Grain, or one of the others soon.

Thinking if we should go grain-free for Leo too. He's all out of food, going to pick up something for him tomorrow. Solid Gold has a grain-free called Indigo Moon. They don't have the wet food counterpart here though, which is why we did the Chicken Soup Kitten [which has whole grain brown rice an white rice listed as 7th and 8th]

We could get Merricks Before Grain for Leo, but I don't think the wet food includes any veggies or fruits.
 

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One of my cats(Anna) has the same issue. Her old vet also put her on a prescription diet (medi-cal gastro... Made by royal canin) and the ingredients were the same. It actually made her stools much worse, and my other cat started eating it and it gave her loose stools too.

At first I fed her a grain free dry(wellness core but switches to blue freedom) and that seemed to do the trick for a month until it started again. I began to feed her more and more grain free wet and that seems to do the trick. She is now on wet only and although she still has the occasional loose stool it's 90% better than before.

There are a ton of grain free wets out there you just have to find what they like. Mine like:

Wellness core, Weruva, Go!, Evo, natures instincts , etc
 

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24 5.5oz cans of before grain chicken is 31.99. 6.6lb of the dry food is 19.99. 11.1 is 28.99. Petflow.com is where I got these prices.

I think that's pretty reasonable. If she can handle turkey, that opens up the options a lot too. I would see how she does on the BG chicken wet and go
from there.
UPDATE:

Doing some research, I had narrowed it down to 4 brands: Merrick Before Grain, Solid Gold Indigo Moon, Blue, and Natural Balance.

I ended up buying 30 cans of Merrick Before Grain Chicken, 2 11lb bags of Merrick Before Grain Chicken from PetCo using the 50% off coupon that was on SlickDeals a few weeks ago, as well as a Large bag of Blue cat litter (walnut shells). Came out to $56 after taxes :)

We first integrated the Merrick BG dry into Mishka's diet, increasing the amount over a 2 week period. She is now done with the Prescription Diet dry, and we have started integrating the Merrick BG wet as of a week ago. So far, so good. She seems to love it, and no issues with her stools.

Leo also loves it, we are integrating it with the remainder of his Taste of the Wild for him.

2 happy cats and 2 happy humans. Thanks everyone.
 

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UPDATE:

Doing some research, I had narrowed it down to 4 brands: Merrick Before Grain, Solid Gold Indigo Moon, Blue, and Natural Balance.

I ended up buying 30 cans of Merrick Before Grain Chicken, 2 11lb bags of Merrick Before Grain Chicken from PetCo using the 50% off coupon that was on SlickDeals a few weeks ago, as well as a Large bag of Blue cat litter (walnut shells). Came out to $56 after taxes :)

We first integrated the Merrick BG dry into Mishka's diet, increasing the amount over a 2 week period. She is now done with the Prescription Diet dry, and we have started integrating the Merrick BG wet as of a week ago. So far, so good. She seems to love it, and no issues with her stools.

Leo also loves it, we are integrating it with the remainder of his Taste of the Wild for him.

2 happy cats and 2 happy humans. Thanks everyone.
I'm glad we could all help! I'm feeding my little kitten BG right now and she loves it.
 

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I wonder if maybe the carbs make the stool soft? I know cats have problems digesting carbs, so maybe they just kind-of flow on by? Just a thought... I'm actually dealing with a kitten with diarrhea issues myself, and pumpkin mixed into wet food will give his poo some form. It's still not normal, but better than straight-up diarrhea. I'm adding probiotics to his food now, too, to see if that will help. Maybe you could try that?
 
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